Apollo Transco fire - what now for vinyl's future?

I’ve just read about the devastating fire at the Apollo Transco lacquer manufacturing facility in Banning California. They are one of only two LP lacquer manufacturers in the world, the other being MDC in Japan. Luckily no employees were injured in the fire, but the future of the facility is looking bleak. With no additional capacity reported to be available at MDC, and so much irreplaceable old equipment lost to the fire, it may well mean that record producers will have to turn to DMM cuts in future. I imagine there are many planned vinyl projects that may well have to be postponed or even cancelled after this sad event.

And MDC are refusing to take on new customers…a bit of gap to fill.

Ouch, it seems that MDC are quite a small player, 25-30% of the volume. At least nobody was hurt, although the people nearby will have had some pretty dangerous lungfuls.

Very sorry to read about this. Glad to hear no one was injured. How were they doing as a company considering the vinyl revival?

I wonder, although it would take a long time, is there any possibility that their insurance can help them rebuild the plant?

From what I gather, much of the old equipment is feared lost in the fire and it’s basically now irreplaceable; i.e. it’s probably not economically viable to do so. There seems also to be some environmental concerns that might put any rebuild in doubt.

I’m told by someone I know in the industry in L.A. that Apollo manufactured 90% of the lacquers, so MDC is a pretty small player. He also says, and I quote, “It is a MAJOR disaster for the vinyl business, really and truly.” He shared that Kevin Gray prefers MDC and started using them two years ago.

I’m glad to hear he’s one of MDC’s customers already. He’s one of my favorite mastering engineers and responsible for many projects that interest me.

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Not to mention, one does not just skip lacquers and do DMM instead. All the original engineers for it are dead, and they didn’t leave it all fully documented. Further, not all cutters are compatible, spares are no longer available, and since the DMM engineering can’t really be reverse engineered those that aren’t already onboard with it (i.e. everyone but some Europeans) are mostly SOL.

Current California EPA regulations make that unlikely, from what I’ve read, due to the chemical requirements of the process.

This is seriously, a very FU mess!

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Interesting little interview with Abbey Road’s Miles Showell on Analog Planet here:


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