No sale at Abbey Road as the Studios' online shop opens for business

Abbey Road Studios has launched an online shop promoting a range of products celebrating its reputation as the world's most famous recording studio, as its owner EMI plays down news of a property sale.

The new product collection features 10 different t-shirt designs at £25, four types of laptop cases at £20 and three styles of notebooks at £10. New designs, colours and sizes are planned for later in the year.

The product designs reference Abbey Road’s legacy of innovation in music recording and iconic equipment design, such as the TG12345 MK II recording desk, a unique and much-loved piece of audio equipment created by Abbey Road Studios’ in-house research development engineers. Aspects of the desk feature on laptop cases and T-shirts. Other products reference EMI analogue tape boxes, recording techniques and studio hardware.

Speaking to E&T, Kerin Purcell, head of brand and marketing at Abbey Road Studios, said: “Many people all over the world are passionate about Abbey Road Studios and generations of legendary musicians have chosen Abbey Road Studios to record their greatest work. Sales of our products will help ensure that future generations are able to do the same. The launch features a small collection of products. Our plans are to introduce new colours, sizes, designs and products later this year. We are also planning wider distribution of the products off and online.”

This is not the first time Abbey Road Studios has made branded merchandise available online. A limited range of Abbey Road products was launched online in 2004, including t-shirts, mugs, badges and key rings bearing the Abbey Road branding. The merchandise was also sold through select retail outlets, such as The Beatles Shop on Baker Street.

Acknowledging the studios’ past retail activity and online presence, Purcell said, “Our research and development has informed the new shop, rather than any previous retail operations. We have a dedicated team of experienced people working on the project. 

“The inspiration for all of the products comes from within the walls of Abbey Road Studios – from the skills and talent of the artists and engineers, who record, mix and master at the studios, to our unique and exclusive vintage and cutting-edge equipment. The people who support Abbey Road Studios, those people who watch our television programme, visit our website or come to the studios at St Johns Wood to sign our wall, have informed much of our development.”

Aimed at music lovers, musicians, audio enthusiasts and fans, the range of T-shirts, laptop cases and music notebooks is available with immediate effect.

The launch of the new online shop comes a week after the news that EMI, the owner of Abbey Road Studios, was considering selling the property. However, following a week of keen interest and national consternation, EMI today insisted that Abbey Road is not for sale, issuing a statement confirming that they are looking for investors rather than new owners. This announcement comes a day after composer Lord Lloyd Webber, all of whose musicals have been recorded at Abbey Road, expressed a desire to save the studio.

"In response to recent press speculation,” the statement read, “EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalisation of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties. Abbey Road studios had, for a number of years, been losing money and we have developed plans to revitalise the studios. These plans would involve a substantial injection of new capital”.

In recent years, Abbey Road Studios has engaged in a number of commercial partnerships to promote its brand to the wider music world, principally in the world of recording studio equipment. Both hardware and software has been produced, such as the studio hardware mic preamps, channel strips and compressors recreated by US company Chandler Limited from the original EMI blueprints and the range of Abbey Road software plug-ins modelled on devices from the 1960s.

Abbey Road Studios has also lent its name to software instruments from Propellerheads (Abbey Road Keyboards) and Native Instruments (Abbey Road 60s Drums), both of which are sample-based instruments featuring sounds played and recorded within Abbey Road Studios, utilising both the world-famous space of Studio Two and its vintage equipment.

Update, 23 March 2010

Abbey Road Studios has been made a listed building. The venue has been granted Grade II status, the third-highest category, due to its historic role in shaping British music rather than on grounds of architectural merit.

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge listed the studios on the advice of English Heritage, saying it had "produced some of the very best music in the world".

The listing for the property, the official address of which is 3 Abbey Road, means that any future owners are obliged to make sure the character of the property is treated with respect, although it does not prohibit internal changes.

EMI bought the property for £100,000 in 1929.

Further information:

E&T video: Abbey Road Studios, vintage equipment and The Beatles in mono:

E&T video: at Abbey Road Studios, cutting a vinyl record:

Software plug-ins, Chandler Limited hardware, sample instruments:

Native Instruments Abbey Road 60s Drums:

Propellerheads’ Abbey Road Keyboards:

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