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Metallica Splits From WMG To Launch Blackened Recordings

MetallicaIt’s official: Metallica has gone independent. Announced last Friday, the famed rockers have left longtime label Warner Music Group after 28 years, and were able to take ownership of all their master recordings with them, including all music and long form videos under provision of their renegotiated joint venture agreement with the WMG in 1994, where all masters revert back to the band as of November 30, 2012. The band also announced the formation of their own independent label, Blackend Recordings.

From now on, every Metallica project from future studio albums to reissues will be released via Blackened. The label will even boast its own in-house marketing and promotion staff and will be distributed by WMG reissue subsidiary Rhino Entertainment. Blackened Recordings will also license their releases to Universal Music Group internationally.

"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," said Metallica frontman James Hetfield.

"It's always been about control for us as a band," said Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.  "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."

Metallica isn’t wasting any time with their newly found label. The band’s first release from Blackened is set for Monday December 10 in the form a live concert DVD called "Quebec Magnetic", capturing the two World Magnetic live shows from Quebec City in the fall of 2009. Unique to the DVD, the set list for it was voted on by over 35,000 fans at this past September. 

Along with “Quebec Magnetic”, a new Metallica album is said to be in the works.

“We're going to basically just concentrate on new music and trying to get another Metallica record will be the priority,” Ulrich said in a press event earlier this year. “I mean, it's an amazing thing, 31 years into a career, to be able to be as busy as we are and for people to give a shit.”

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Additionally, he is a digital strategist for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud