Abbey Road Not For Sale Says EMI

By Clive Young. New York (February 22, 2010)--Following a week that saw uproar and dismay at the news that venerable London studio Abbey Road was for sale, beleaguered parent company EMI announced that it does not want to sell the facility.
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Abbey Road's famed Studio 2
By Clive Young.

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New York (February 22, 2010)--Following a week that saw uproar and dismay at the news that venerable London studio Abbey Road was for sale, beleaguered parent company EMI announced that it does not want to sell the facility.

Word surfaced early last week that the legendary studio, made famous by the Beatles, had been up for sale since November, when EMI entered talks with various unnamed potential buyers. Now the company has released a statement confirming that it wants to keep Abbey Road and is looking for possible investors to help reboot the facility.

The statement, in full, reads:

EMI welcomes the reported acceleration of English Heritage’s plans to list Abbey Road and supports such a listing as an appropriate way of protecting our world famous music heritage site. In response to recent press speculation, EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalization of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties.

When Terra Firma acquired EMI in 2007, it made the preservation of Abbey Road a priority. Abbey Road studios had, for a number of years, been losing money and we have developed plans to revitalize the studios. These plans would involve a substantial injection of new capital.

Since November 2009, EMI has held discussions with a number of parties with a view to them financing these plans and maintaining this unique venue. At all times, these plans have focused on providing access to artists and, where possible members of the public. In mid-2009, we did receive an offer to buy Abbey Road for in excess of £30 million but this was rejected since we believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI’s ownership.

Last week saw a public furor arise as news of the studio’s possible sale came out. Music fans feared that the facility—incubator to many of the Classic Rock era’s top albums--would be bulldozed to make way for condominiums.

Paul McCartney told the BBC’s Newsnight, “I have so many memories there with the Beatles. It still is a great studio. So it would be lovely for someone to get a thing together to save it.” He added that he’d heard of efforts by “a few people who have been associated with the studio for a long time” to do so, but did not give any names.

The National Trust, a preservation charity that already owns McCartney’s and John Lennon’s childhood homes, stated that it was possibly interested in the site, following a reported flood of requests to become involved in the situation. In a statement, the organization noted, “It’s not often that the public spontaneously suggests that we should acquire a famous building. However, Abbey Road recording studios appear to be very dear to the nation’s heart – to the extent that we will take soundings as to whether a campaign is desirable or even feasible.”

This was followed a few days later by reports that musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and his lyricist, Tim Rice, were also interested in saving the studio. A spokesman for Lloyd Webber said the composer wanted to buy the studio, while Rice told UK newspaper The Telegraph he’d be interested, depending on projections for the investment, noting “People can make a recording in their front rooms nowadays; if it’s just history, then it’s hard to justify.”

Abbey Road
www.abbeyroad.com