Metallica have been planning their first independent release for a while, and now their new record label has a name: Blackened Recordings.
The metal titans revealed the name today while announcing the band has taken the rare step of owning all of its master recordings, including both music and long-form videos. Under the deal Metallica worked out with Warner Music Group more than a decade ago, all the rights would go back to the band on a certain date. That day is today.
"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," frontman James Hetfield said in a statement.
The first release on Metallica's new label will be the concert movie Quebec Magnetic, due out on December 10. The band recently shared a trailer for the DVD, which features two fall 2009 shows in Quebec City during Metallica's tour for the album Death Magnetic. Fans helped determine the set list by voting on Metallica's website.
As that first offering suggests, Blackened will release both audio and video. The new label will conduct all marketing and promotional activities. Under an agreement, Rhino Entertainment will manufacture and distribute the label's releases in North America, while Blackened has a licensing deal with Universal Music Group globally.
Forming their own label puts Metallica firmly in charge of their music, according to drummer Lars Ulrich. "It's always been about control for us as a band," he said in a statement. "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." When you own your own masters, you're nobody's puppet.
While Metallica didn't explain the provenance of their new label's name, Blackened in this context probably doesn't have anything to do with Cajun food, though we bet Ulrich cooks a mean sea bass. Please Don't Post This to the Internet Records, Def Magnetic, Sad But True Records, What a Load Records, What a Re-Load Records, and other possible Metallica label names have sadly gone unclaimed.