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Recording Industry Strikes Back at ‘Empty Studios’ Assessment

Online channel slipped disk has published an assessment of the recording industry which stands in complete contrast to the recent experience of those who regularly work in London’s principal and world-famous facilities.

Published: 06 December 2021 | 10:14 AM
The famous Abbey Road crossing, with zebra crossing and day light.
The industry has worked hard to make sure that the recording sector can continue to work safely on a daily basis. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Leading lights of the recording industry have expressed their surprise and annoyance at the publication on Slipped Disc, the online channel for commentator Norman Lebrecht, which states: “The flow of large-scale recordings is over. Abbey Road stands largely empty. And whatever work is left to go around gets done at much lower cost in Munich and Prague.”

This is in complete contrast to the recent experience of those who regularly work in London’s principal and world-famous facilities.

Isobel Griffiths, the highly respected orchestra contractor for studio sessions in the UK, said:

“At Isobel Griffiths Ltd, as orchestra contractors, we rely on our close relationships with all the major London recording studios to deliver – as required – on our ever-busy schedule of recording. In particular scores for feature films and television series.

“The London recording studios only closed down for twelve weeks after the first lockdown and we were up and running again in June 2020 recording over 300 film, TV, videogame, library and CD/download projects to date, under strict Covid protocols.

“We, and the recording studios, in equal collaboration – predominantly with UK and US film production and streaming companies large and small – have worked tirelessly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in developing and agreeing upon the industry protocols for as safe a working environment as possible for freelance orchestral session musicians and, from these, to help ensure the recorded music industry in London continues to thrive.

“Very fortunately this has indeed proved to be the case and in tandem with the available digital connection applications for remote audio recording between here, Los Angeles and other overseas territories, we and the London studios have been as busy as ever, despite those composer and production company clients of ours having been unable to visit the UK until the recent lifting of our quarantine restrictions from 19 July 2020.”

By way of a very small snapshot of those 300 plus released/aired projects, we are free to cite by name the following as having concluded scoring here in London since June of last year: Eternals, House of Gucci, Mothering Sunday, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, News of the World, Jingle Jangle, Cruella, and Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Recording session work is very much alive and well

Sam Jordan, MU Sessions Official, said:

“With studios being able to remain open for much of the COVID pandemic, recording session work has continued to take place daily with production companies, labels, producers etc from the UK and abroad, booking regular studio time here.

“We are aware of the difficulties in booking some studios at present with an increasing demand to record in the UK. This does show though that recording session work is very much alive and well, bringing a healthy amount of work to musicians in the UK. Abbey Road report to have had a healthy year for large scale orchestral recordings and their bookings diary continues to be strong into 2022.

“There are still some restrictions in place to mitigate the risk of COVID in the studio, but the industry has worked hard to make sure that the recording sector can continue to work safely on a daily basis.

“Many of the biggest film, TV and video game companies from the US also continue to want to record in the UK and appreciate the quality they will get from the musicians here, as well as the studios, facilities, and contractors.”

The statement on Slipped Disc can be accessed on their website.

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