In 2010 you may not be able to buy the rights to The Beatles masters, obtain any percentage of their publishing, or sample their music to make you sound uber-hip, but apparently you can sell the recording studio that became famous around the world simply because of “four or five magicians” who cast their spell there 40 years ago.
An article from the Associated Press states that EMI Group Ltd., a company who has been struggling financially for years, have been looking for someone to buy Abbey Road Studios in London. The studio was originally called EMI Studios and had been the recording studio for EMI Records and all of their British affiliates. It was here that Parlophone Records producer (Sir) George Martin was introduced to a new pop combo from Liverpool in 1962 called The Beatles. Together, along wit a number of recording studio engineers and assistants (including Alan Parsons and Geoff Emerick), The Beatles would not only record some of the best music ever made, but revolutionize the way music was recorded, mixed, and produced. They named their 1969 album Abbey Road in honor of the street that houses the studio, and the studio itself would change its name to Abbey Road Studios in 1970, forever becoming a part of Beatles and rock’n'roll history.
Countless artists have recorded at Abbey Road since then, from Pink Floyd to Kanye West, and there’s also a television show that highlights exclusive performances from old and new artists.
40 years after the studio became Abbey Road, EMI continues to struggle with keeping themselves alive, even after a 2.7 billion pounds purchase in 2007. Even though EMI is a company known for much more than The Beatles (apparently they made toasters during World War II), the group has obviously become their bread and butter, so the idea of them selling “the recording studio that The Beatles built” might seem ludicrous to some. In truth, countless recording studios in London and throughout England have been closing over the years, specifically company-owned studio that was once a major part of the music industry in the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s. Independent studios helped change that, making the process of recording songs and albums much easier for artists. Home studios have hurt the big studios, so while Abbey Road has become a major tourist attraction, it’s not enough to keep it around. Perhaps it’s merely the bursting of the bubble, because the building was just a building before 1962, and it’s just a building full of rooms that inspired many musicians of countless genres to simply create.
Yet even a building that has “Beatles status” can’t hold back economic and financial problems. As the AP article indicates, potential buyers will be buying the recording studio, not the famous sidewalk that thousands of people cross every year.