The music business sure isn't what it used to be.
In fact, it’s a miracle there’s any music business left anymore in the age of free downloading, MTV no longer playing music, and terrestrial radio going the way of the near extinction. These days, you’re better off putting out your music yourself because what’s left of the business is still stuck to an old model that doesn’t work anymore, and why should you let a major label steal your money?
So years back when Metallica signed a deal with Warner Brothers to distribute their Death Magnetic album, I wondered why they even bothered. They could do it all themselves, have 100% creative control, which they pretty much had anyways, and make even more money they wouldn’t have to split with a label. As it turns out, this is exactly what they’re doing from here on out.
As Blabbermouth confirms, Metallica has formed its own label, Blackened Recordings, named after the opening song on And Justice For All. The deal with Warners was for one album, and after Death Magnetic they were free to go wherever they wanted. (Metallica was with Elektra previously, which is also under the Warner umbrella).
What makes this deal especially sweet for the band is they have complete ownership over their master tapes, music videos and long-form videos. This provision was a big part of their renegotiation with Elektra back in 1994, and when Guitar Hero did the Metallica game, they worked off the master tapes the band owns.
The band is planning to do their next album some time next year, with Rick Rubin again producing. In a statement, James Hetfield said, "We would like to thank everyone at the Warner Music Group for 28 years of a fantastic relationship, particularly since 1994 where we truly felt we had partners in every aspect of our business in North America."
Lars Ulrich also said,"“It’s always been about control for us as a band. Forming Blackened Recordings is the ultimate in independence, giving us 100% control and putting us in the driver’s seat of our own creative destiny."
Nice place for any artist to be, and you can almost imagine the Metallica guys quoting Mel Brooks: "It’s good to be the king."