After decades of affiliation with Warner Music Group, Bay Area metal giant Metallica is stepping out on its own. Today, the band takes ownership of all of its old masters, and launches its own label, Blackened Records, which will be the home of all future Metallica releases.
"It's always been about control for us as a band," said drummer Lars Ulrich in a statement announcing the move. "Forming Blackened Recordings is the ultimate in independence, giving us 100 percent control and putting us in the driver's seat of our own creative destiny."
Whether becoming in effect an indie band will have any change on Metallica's music remains to be seen. Given the band's size, sales reputation, and uneven output over the last decade or so, its hard to imagine that Metallica really remained at the whim of its label heads. But you never know. Perhaps this move will pave the way for some long-in-the-works Metallica country-polka album. Which would only be less strange than that thing they did last year.
The new label, Blackened, will be home not just to all Metallica releases, but "anything that suits them," according to today's statement. (See? That leaves a huge opening for unexpected weirdness!) The first release will be Quebec Magnetic, a live DVD due out Dec. 10 that covers two shows from Quebec City in fall 2009.