17:12 16 February 2010
Abbey Road, the infamous London recording studios, is being put up for sale by cash-strapped music group EMI in order to extricate itself from the debt burden of Terra Firma's 2007 leveraged buy-out.
The studio was immortalized by the classic Beatles album of the same name. The group recorded the majority of their music between 1962-1969 there. EMI once again used the studios to work on the remastered Beatles recordings.
EMI refused to comment but it is thought that a sale could raise tens of millions of pounds.
It was not immediately clear whether EMI would sell the Abbey Road brand name along with the property, but one media lawyer said: "The brand is worth more than the building... anybody who wants the studios will want the brand."
EMI bought the house at number 3 Abbey Road for £100,000 ($160,000) in 1929. Since then it has been transformed into the world's first custom-built recording studio centre.
In 1931, Sir Edward Elgar used studio one to record 'Land of Hope and Glory' with the London Symphony Orchestra and by World War II Abbey Road was used for propaganda recordings for the British government and BBC radio broadcasts.
Pink Floyd recorded their seminal prog rock masterpiece 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. Other artists to use the studios include Radiohead, Oasis and Blur.
However, the studios have faced cheaper competition from recording facilities in other countries. Many artists now bypass a costly recording studio's schedule altogether by burning music directly to laptop computers, as technology progresses.
The media lawyer continued: "What you have is a very, very expensive piece of heritage. If an artist goes to a label and asks to record at Abbey Road they will be met with maniacal laughter."
However, Abbey Road remains one of the few venues able to accommodate entire orchestras, which has meant that producers can record scores there for films such as 'Lord of the Rings'.
Depending on the level of offers it attracts, a sale could bolster EMI's finances at a time when Terra Firma is seeking £120M ($188M) from investors by June to avoid breaching covenants on £3.3B ($5.17B) of loans from Citigroup.
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