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UMG Acquires House of Blues Studios Nashville

By Steve Harvey. Corporate owner of Abbey Road and Capitol Studios snaps up multi-building Berry Hill studio campus.

Nashville, TN (January 9, 2019)—Universal Music Group (UMG) purchased the House of Blues recording complex in Nashville’s Berry Hill neighborhood in November for approximately $4.3 million, according to the records of the Metro Nashville and Davidson County Property Assessor.

According to a UMG spokesperson quoted in a report on USA Today Network’s Tennessean news site on January 4, 2019, “UMG has acquired the House of Blues Studios in Berry Hill with the intention to modernize the space, while remaining respectful of its legendary and iconic status in Nashville’s music scene. We will have more details to share about our exciting plans for the studio in the near future.”

Giles Martin to Lead Audio & Sound at UMG

UMG Nashville chairman and CEO Mike Dungan reportedly confirmed the transaction but declined to comment further. UMG also owns Abbey Road Studios in London and Capitol Studios—part of the Capitol Music Group—in Hollywood.

According to the House of Blues Studios website, the Nashville campus comprises eight buildings housing five commercially bookable studios and several producer cottages. The property assessor’s records indicate that UMG has acquired buildings at 514, 516-518 and 520 E. Iris Drive in Berry Hill. The purchase was completed on November 16, 2018, according to the records.

Online publication MusicRow notes that the 1,146 sq. ft. building at 517 E. Iris Drive and the 1,130 sq. ft. building at 520 E. Iris Drive were constructed in 1945. The 6,476 sq. ft. building at 518 E. Iris Drive was constructed in 1964.

At the time of UMG’s purchase, Studio A housed an 80-channel SSL 9000J and Studio B a 40-channel SSL 4000E with G+ VCA automation plus a 16-channel API 1604.

Studio D was previously Studio D at House of Blues Memphis. “In 2009, we literally moved the entire building to our Nashville campus, allowing it to continue its contribution to music,” states the facility’s website. The room features a custom API console originally commissioned in 1978 for New York’s Record Plant.

The Cave includes a 1979 vintage API split 32-input/32-monitor console, modified by Brent Averill in 1990 with a 5.1 section, together with a 16-channel Neve Melbourn sidecar. The room can work in tandem with a tracking space known as the Sun Room, modeled after Sun Studio in Memphis.

The colorful Nashville campus was previously named East Iris Studios and was owned by Gary Belz, one of the founders of the House of Blues Studios group, who purchased it in 1998. The Berry Hill studio was brought under the House of Blues umbrella in 2009, joining facilities in Los Angeles and Memphis. In 1994, Belz and partner Allen Sides established Ocean Way Nashville in a Music Row church, later selling it to Belmont University.

House of Blues Nashville has hosted numerous projects over the years, including Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, Kesha’s Rainbow, Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell’s The Traveling Kind, and artists ranging from Miley Cyrus to Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). The final post on the facility’s Facebook page is a photo of Steve Earle recording vocals on September 10, 2018.

Universal Music Group:

House of Blues Studios: