Ben Folds to vacate historic RCA Studio A on Music Row

Ben Folds has announced that he will be leaving his rental space of the historic RCA Studio A on Music Row this November and is one of many continuing to support saving RCA Studio A and Music Row.

The singer announced on his Facebook page on Friday (August 1st) that he is leaving the studio space he has occupied for the last 12 years due to the new property owner raising rent by 124% when the current lease expires at the end of November.

“After closing on the purchase of 30 Music Square West, home of historic RCA Studio A (of which I’ve been tenant for 12 years) Tim Reynolds of Bravo Development in Brentwood TN has just informed us that our rent will be raised 124%,” the singer writes. “Haha, okay Tim, we got it, and we’re moving out as soon as our current lease runs out. That means we will be there until end of November. He is on public record saying he will not demolish the building, though I’m not sure how any studio owner could make bottom line with rent that high.”

Lately, the area has been making headlines after several commercial developers threatened to demolish the historic studio, and other Music Row landmarks, to build condominiums and other commercial developments. Music Row is located south of Downtown Nashville and was once known as Nashville’s entertainment industry due to the hundreds of recording studios and music industry businesses, including record labels and publishing companies, that once resided in the area. While most of these companies have moved elsewhere, there’s still a lot of history that enriches Music Row which many believe should be preserved.

“I will continue to raise public awareness of the grand history of Music Row that is threatened by hasty development.”

“We have and will continue to send investors and planners his way who have ideas on how to both preserve the space, keep the studio working and make everyone the money they want,” Folds continues. “I will continue to raise public awareness of the grand history of Music Row that is threatened by hasty development. Today we did Morning Joe (watch video below) and an NPR segment on 360 will also air soon – many more outlets to come. My hope is that all our efforts have given us a moment to pause and consider how Nashville might continue to grow, while also retaining the identity and culture that has made it Music City.

“Since the rally was held at the studio on June 30, a group called Music Industry Coalition has formed, elected a Board, begun filing its official papers with the state, fashioned a mission statement and collected over 1500 members. Their mission is to give the working folks in the music industry a voice and to work with city officials on a plan for Music Row that allows our music culture to co-exist with new growth. I will continue to help them in any way I can.

“Yeah, I’m sad personally, but I had a good decade plus run and will be recording as much of my new album as I can there before November, including with the absolutely incredible sextety Music from New York. The Nashville Symphony and I recorded my Concerto For Piano and Orchestra there recently. What other studio can handle 80-piece orchestras in one take?

“This whole ‪#‎SaveStudioA‬ and ‪#‎SaveMusicRow‬ thing was never about me (or the former owners or Tim Reynolds) and that’s why the issue has resonated with people here and around the world who are concerned about retaining Nashville’s identity, culture and music economy. Thanks for reading, and for the concern and effort! It’s working. That’s all I got to say.”

Multi-platinum selling country crooner Keith Urban is also demanding that the area be preserved. In an article he personally wrote for Nashville’s The Tennessean on Friday (August 1st), the singer and multi-instrumentalist states that after making his first trip from Australia to Nashville, he immediately drove to Music Row where he had an instant connection.

“I would drive to the Row almost daily in my rented crap car to write, record demos and generally hang around, meeting all kinds of people. Music Row became my center, because Music Row IS a center.”

While Urban states that “evolution is a constant part of music and life,” for him (and most Nashville-based musicians), “Music Row is where the past, present and future meet, and that’s a vital part of keeping balance.”

He continues, “You can feel it as you drive along 16th and 17th Avenues and see so many original buildings, including RCA’s Studios A and B; the house where Warner Brothers first opened their doors; Quad Studios, where Neil Young recorded “Harvest”; and Hillbilly Central, where Waylon Jennings and the boys transformed the status quo by revolutionizing the way artists could take creative control. … Not to mention the countless publishing houses where classic songs were and are written, pitched and demoed.”

“Nashville’s growth is exciting, but not at the risk of losing the creative epicenter that is Music Row and that truly makes Nashville Music City.”

Urban states that Music Row has impacted all genres of music and shouldn’t relate to just country.

“The past, present and the future are ALL still here — but the Row is currently under threat from developers. Nashville has exploded as a music town, and not just country music. Musicians from all genres, all over the world are making the pilgrimage here to immerse themselves in the kind of creative center that so many other cities have lost but that Nashville still maintains.”

Urban claims, “Nashville’s growth is exciting, but not at the risk of losing the creative epicenter that is Music Row and that truly makes Nashville Music City.”

Leave us your thoughts on preserving Music Row.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.