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Metallica gets masters, forms label

A MASTERFUL MOVE: Metallica announced on Friday that it has officially left Warner Music and formed its own indie label, Blackened Recordings. According to the release, all forthcoming Metallica projects—including studio albums, reissues, live recordings and video releases—will come out via Blackened, though the band retains its ties with Warner by going through Rhino for distribution. The new label will handle its own marketing and promotion. The timing of the announcement is notable, as Randall Roberts points out in the L.A. Times. Under a 1994 agreement, ownership of all of the band’s masters reverted to Metallica as of Nov. 30. Said Lars Ulrich, "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." Added James Hetfield, "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." Blackened’s first release, the live DVD Quebec Magnetic, hits Dec. 12. (12/3a)

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