J/K: Matador Vinyl Masters Actually Just Fine, Thanks

April 27, 2009  |  4:00pm
Update: Despite various reports around the web, this story is inaccurate. Paste regrets the error. Matador's General Manager Patrick Amory sent this statement to Paste:

"Matador's former vinyl pressing plant, 33 1/3 (originally the vinyl arm of WEA Manufacturing) went bankrupt in June 2006. Many labels, including Matador, lost vinyl LPs, jackets and masters in this bankruptcy.

This was 3 years ago and we have long since made new masters, re-pressed records at other plants and in general moved on, but a recent Comcast story about the bankruptcy ran without a date and was picked up by Pitchfork who added the adjective "recently" in reporting it. Although Pitchfork ran a correction and Comcast added in the historical context, it was too late and the story had run wild as an internet meme.

The crucial point to take home is: the bankruptcy and the loss of our masters took place 3 years ago, and is now ancient history! We have always released, and continue to release, just about every record on vinyl, and our sales in the format are quite healthy at the moment, thank you very much."

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Matador Records has just disclosed a bit of distressing news, announcing that most of its vinyl masters no longer exist after one of the label's pressing plants, 33 1/3, went bankrupt and tossed all its records.  "Nothing was recovered from 33 1/3," said director of production Jesper Eklow. "We lost everything."

The losses aren't inconsiderable: According to Elkow, "everything" means "pretty much everything up to May 2006." This includes Mogwai's Happy Songs for Happy People, Yo La Tengo's Painful and Cat Power's The Covers Record, among many, many others. 


Matador had been hoping to capitalize on the vinyl craze that's swept the music biz lately, reissuing a number of titles in response to an 89% vinyl sales spike in 2008. But the cost of re-mastering the pre-2006 releases from scratch might outweigh any profits the label would eventually see from the vinyl. For now, they're unsure what their next move will be.

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