Metallica announced in a statement today that they have taken ownership of all their master recordings, including all music and long-form videos, a move that is almost unprecedented for musicians signed to recording contracts.
Under provision of their renegotiated joint venture agreement with the Warner Music Group in 1994, all masters revert back to the band as of today, November 30, 2012, according to the statement.
"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 the statement.
Concurrently, Metallica announced the launch of their new record label, Blackened Recordings. The label was created by the band as a home for all of their audio and visual recordings, as well as "anything else that suits them." Blackened Recordings will handle all marketing and promotion duties and will enter into a deal with Warner's Rhino Entertainment, who will manufacture and distribute its releases in North America. Blackened will license their releases to the Universal Music Group internationally.
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"It's always been about control for us as a band," drummer Lars Ulrich said in the statement. "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."
The first release from Blackened will be "Quebec Magnetic" on Monday, December 10, a live DVD capturing the two World Magnetic live shows from Quebec City in the fall of 2009. The set list for the DVD was voted on by over 35,000 fans at Metallica.com in September.