Scots hurl challenge at Abbey Road

Scots hurl challenge at Abbey Road


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2021

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra today opened a ‘new world-class recording facility’ to be known as Scotland’s Studio.

They say it is ‘set to become the go-to large scale recording studio in the UK.’

The Scottish Government is paying a large chunk of the costs.

There’s just one small fly in the intment. 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.



  • Tommy says:

    “Abbey Road stands largely empty”.

    That’s weird. Only yesterday a major film composer was talking in an interview about how difficult it is to book a session at Abbey Road because it’s always so busy.
    Is he wrong?

  • Yoda says:

    Norman, what’s it like trying to make a living on the back of an industry you clearly know nothing about?

    Abbey Road 1 has been in pretty much constant use for film score recording through the entire pandemic. There has in fact been a problem of insufficient large studio availability whilst Air Lyndhurst was being refurbished. Air’s thankfully now back in use, and busy.

    You don’t have a clue, yet you make confident assertions like “Abbey Road stands largely empty”.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I pass Abbey Road studios at least once a day. I am well equipped to comment on its usage.

      • Yoda says:

        You *pass* it? So you’re basing your judgement on what you see from the outside? Wow. I play in it. I’ve worked on 4 different Hollywood projects there in the last 4 weeks, and others at Air Lyndhurst.
        Musicians working at the studio aren’t allowed to use the car park, Norman: it’s not big enough. And clients and producers from Hollywood don’t usually bring their cars over with them. You’ve got this one humiliatingly wrong.

      • Chris Cozens says:

        The operative word being ‘pass’. It’s not a shopping mall where you can judge capacity by how full the car park is. Even your own photo has the musicians arriving on foot. The Scottish studio you mention has been open for a while rather than opened today.

      • Douzerboots says:

        You’re actually serious aren’t you? Empty carpark does not mean empty studio. You’re aware of public transport, yes?
        I walk past many buildings every day, I don’t think it qualifies me to publicise, as fact, what activities may or may not be occurring.

      • Violinist says:

        Even harp and double basses are not permitted to use the car park Norman! Drop off only! Abbey Road and Air are both fully booked at the moment. Project details are locked by NDAs.

      • Violinist says:

        Why don’t you “pass” tomorrow at 2 pm when the orchestra arrives and 10.20pm when they finish…. or the next …. or the day after….? Thats what I’m booked for!

  • Pat says:

    Massive Hollywood project finally finished on Sunday ….next one started next day! Musicians are not allowed to discuss the details until after the release of the film but you are SO wrong Norman!

  • Gavin Greenaway says:

    You’re absolutely right Norman. The car park is often empty – especially at 8am before a load in. The studios, on the other hand, could sell their time twice over every day. I’m well placed to comment as I conduct large orchestras there regularly (studio 1, not the car park). This distortion of the truth regarding the work of London musicians is close to libellous.

  • Oscar says:

    James Newton Howard who recorded “The Hunger Games” trilogy in London explains how modern technology made it possible to overcome social distancing and he remained in Los Angeles whilst recording the oscar-nominated soundtrack to “News of the World” during the height of the pandemic.

  • Glenn Miller says:

    I recorded an album there a few months ago – in order to book a 2 day session we had to wait over 6 months.

    But sure, the car park is occasionally unused so there’s no recording going on…I think you must be right.

  • Rachel Bolt says:

    Norman, here is a list of film projects recorded in London booked by one contractor. It is not very up to date with all the projects recently recorded as these will be added after release of the film.
    Film soundtracks to films from all over the world are recorded in London, business is booming. It is something to be proud of. Personally I think you owe an apology to all concerned.

  • Pat says:

    ” large scale recordings is over” er didn’t Lorne Balfe score to Black Widow use 118 musicians at Abbey Rd… the most ever used on a filmscore?

  • Jonathan Williams says:

    What a load of rubbish. Speak to anyone in the business and they will tell you that you cannot get studio space. Great for musicians. You really should check before giving out fake news. We are not allowed to use car parks!!

  • JB says:

    What I learn from this discussion is that Abbey Road studios should sell their car park. It’s always empty because musicians have no right and outside guests no need to use it. Should fetch a good price in central London.
    Apart from that, is anything recorded in the studio besides music for films ?

    • Pat says:

      Absolutely anything can and is recorded at Abbey Rd. The empty car park photo I suspect was taken during the last 3 weeks when a massive Hollywood project was taking place simultaneously across all the studios to allow for social distancing. Stings in studio1, wind in studio 2 harps in booths etc. Obviously the clients didn’t bring their cars from Los Angeles but it doesn’t mean the space and the ramp weren’t needed for off- loading of instruments.