EMI Records has had a tough go of it since the investment fund Terra Firma purchased it right before the world economic collapse a couple of years ago. What made it particularly difficult for Terra Firma is the fact that they borrowed most of the money for the sale from Citibank. Now TF needs gads of money to pay off Citi, which means they have none to invest in just the thing that drives the record business - new artists.
So EMI has been in a death spiral. It can't pay it's bills and artists with half a brain won't touch them with a ten foot pole. What can they do? Sell off parts of the company, of course.
Now comes word that the revered Abbey Road Studios are now on market, according to an article in the Financial Times. The studio, which was purchased in 1929 for about $160,000, reportedly will bring in tens of millions of dollars, since the brand name is worth far more than either the studio or real estate. That will hardly put a dent in the more than 5.5 billion dollars still owed to Citi, but the studio is bound to prosper more away from EMI than within it. If you're not much into music history, Abbey Road is where some of the biggest selling records of all time were made, including most of The Beatles recorded output, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and many many more.
So if you're thinking of buying a studio, let's take a look inside Abbey Road.
Notice a few things in the video (you never see the entire complex - only the entrance and studio 2).
1) All the equipment in the hall. This is something that you just don't see much any more, but it was a pretty common sight in the days of the multi-studio complexes.
2) The analog tape machines, both in the hall and in the studio. The studio also had an old Sony 3348 digital tape machine as well.
3) The console is at right angles to the window viewing the studio. This was also common in studios of the time, but practical too, since you'd never be able to see in the studio if the console was placed traditionally in front of the window.
4) The control room is high up on the second floor. It sure was easy to see just what was going on in large studio like Abbey Road #2, but I imagine the assistants must get pretty tired having to climb those steps all day.
Whatever happens, let's hope that Abbey Road lives on and on. It's a special place.
If you read my Music 3.0 blog, sorry for the cross-post, but I thought the topic fit for both.