Monday, January 18, 2010

Chung King Recording Studios Leaves SoHo NYC Buys New Space With Private Equity

via Bloomberg

The New York City studio where LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Run DMC recorded in the early days of rap is breaking its SoHo lease to buy space elsewhere in Manhattan, backed by a private equity fund.

Chung King Studios, which marks its 30-year anniversary this year, is famous for giving rap and hip-hop artists a place to record in the 1980s, when the genre was not mainstream. The studio, which last year hosted Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and Beyonce, will leave its 20,000 square-foot address to buy a site, the company said today.

Demand for recording at Chung King has risen in recent years, while studios including New York’s Hit Factory and Sony Music Studios closed as CD sales faltered and software such as Apple Inc.’s GarageBand and DigiDesign Inc.’s Pro Tools made it cheaper for some artists to record at home. A private equity fund will invest a “mid-eight-figure sum” so the studio can buy a site three times bigger, Chung King said without identifying the fund.

“Rental space in Manhattan is too much money,” Joe Moose Demby, the studio manager, said in an interview. “We have a great location now but we’ve forged an alliance with a private equity fund to purchase space.”

John King, owner of Chung King, said the time is right to buy property in New York.

“The market is perfect for property ownership and total control of a space insures the highest degree of audio integrity as well as positive vibes for all our clients,” King said in a statement.

The “Blue” and “Gold” recording rooms at Chung King’s current SoHo studio will be moved piece by piece to the new Manhattan location.

Chung King also plans to start its own record label and several film and entertainment projects, including an eight- hour concert in Barbados on May 15 to benefit Haitian orphanages, the studio said in the statement. Artists performing at the concert, and the name of the private equity group backing Chung King, will be announced in late January, Chung King said.

The studio is also considering plans to open satellite locations in Los Angeles, Miami, Brooklyn and New Jersey, Demby said.

“Instead of one 10-room facility we’re looking at spreading it out,” he said. “That way artists can mix without having to come to the city all the time.”

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