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Thursday, February 21

End of an Era

Working the past five years at CTD, I've seen a lot of record stores close for various reasons. Mostly, it's because the store didn't adapt quickly enough to the fleeting business that the music industry is today, but sometimes it's also because the store has lost their lease and couldn't find another competitive location, or the proprietor has decided to close for personal reasons, etc. However, a silver lining is when a store closes, there have been many brand new bright-eyed and bushy-tailed people opening new stores, new ideas, bringing record stores into the future.

Another facet of the music industry has also faced the same issue: recording studios. Last weekend I watched a movie called "Sound City," the directorial debut of Dave Grohl. Many of the most successful records were recorded by at this LA studio, including "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac, the first Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers album, and "Nevermind" by Nirvana.

Sound City was known for their Neve 8078, a hand-wired analog recording console, which was considered by experts to be the "Rolls Royce" of desks and were highly sought after. In the 80s, however, the wave of digital recording swept through and Sound City was almost left behind. It was the major success of "Nevermind" that brought life back into the studio, there was a huge interest from bands like Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine, and Red Hot Chili Peppers after that record exploded. But now in the age where anyone can now have a home studio, sadly, Sound City closed it's doors for good in 2011.

Dave Grohl ended up purchasing the Neve console and together with his state of the art home studio uses both analog and digital to create music... as shown in the last 20 minutes of the film, where he recorded a soundtrack with many of the featured artists.

I read today that another long standing recording studio, The Hangar, is also closing this year. This studio was a haven for indie bands, because of it's affordable pricing. While I am not completely sure, it seems like they have been evicted from this space. The owner, John Baccigaluppi, posted a bittersweet send off on their blog. There are some great stories listed; at the end a glimmer of hope, as they plan to open another studio in the near future.

While often times I find myself discouraged on the state of the music industry, I always can turn to these stories and know that when one door closes another window opens. Wait, recording studios don't have windows.. well, you know what I mean.

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