Published Feb 19, 2010If you're looking for a metaphor to symbolize the downfall of the recording industry, this is it: in the face of growing debts, EMI is now looking to unload the world's most iconic recording studio, Abbey Road.
We previously reported that EMI's parent group, Terra Firma, was looking to raise $170 million Canadian to keep the company afloat. As the site of most of the Beatles' recording sessions, the legendary Abbey Road studios could fetch the company about $49 million.
The CBC now reports that composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has set his sights on the studio, as his spokesman said, "He thinks it is vital that the studios are saved for the future of the music industry in the UK." Webber has used the studio many times in the past, including for his musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Tim Rice, the lyricist with whom Webber co-wrote some of his most renowned musicals (including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), has expressed interest in chipping in, saying, "If there's a consortium with Andrew or Paul [McCartney] or somebody, I would not be uninterested."
McCartney, meanwhile, has stated, "It would be lovely for someone to get a thing together to save it," but has not offered up any of his own cash.
Several notable commentators - McCartney included - have suggested that heritage protection society the National Trust purchase the studio as a British monument. Spokesman John Hewitt confirmed, "Abbey Road recording studios appear to be very dear to the nation's heart," revealing that the society may step up if there is enough public support for the idea.
All of this is good news for music fans, since all of the potential buyers so far are seeking to preserve the historic studio. Once property developers start stepping up, things could get ugly.