The big wig music industry is going to shit. To alleviate their dire financial situation, the EMI Group is selling legendary Abbey Road recording studios, made famous by The Beatles’ eleventh album and its iconic ‘Paul is dead’ sleeve art.
The building, located at No. 3 Abbey Road in London’s St Johns Wood, has rock ‘n’ roll history in spades with not only the Beatles having cut the majority of their catalogue there, but Pink Floyd, The Zombies, Kate Bush, Duran Duran, Oasis and Radiohead also having recorded within its heritage listed walls. You can’t just rock up and lay down your demo with cousin Andy on bass. You have to be a movement-making musical genius to even be let inside. Or maybe an acid dealer to the stars.
In 2007 EMI was taken over by Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd for a lazy £2.4 billion. Recently, a Financial Times report revealed that last year EMI made a net loss of about £1.5bn – the reason behind why EMI have put the building up for sale.
This isn’t an anomalous situation as there’s been a consistent trend of the major record labels suffering major financial losses. Warner Music Group has reportedly lost $17 million in the first quarter of this financial year, and in 2009 Virgin Music struggled to compete with the massive boom in online music sales leading to the mass shut down of Virgin Megastores throughout the United States and the UK.
Bedroom musicians can high-five themselves, because with the available technology to be able to record whole albums in a neighbours garage or a spare room with a mattress propped against the wall for soundproofing, means that recording music and making records is accessible to the multi-talented masses – not just your Coldplays and your Rod Stewarts. However, the sale of Abbey Road – having been custom built and owned by EMI since 1929 – certainly marks the sad end of an era.