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Studio where Bowie recorded final albums to close

By | Published on Tuesday 23 February 2016

Magic Shop

The studio where David Bowie recorded his final two albums, The Magic Shop in New York, will close next month. The operation has been forced to shut down because of dwindling business and spiralling rent.

Opened in Manhattan in 1988, the studio is known for its collection of analogue recording equipment. This makes it an attractive option for many artists, but also expensive to hire as record industry budgets fall and alternative options become cheaper. Still, over the years it has attracted the likes of Coldplay, Lou Reed, Arcade Fire, Norah Jones, Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile and more.

After featuring the Magic Shop in his ‘Sonic Highways’ series, Dave Grohl last year loaned owner Steve Rosenthal $50,000 to pay off rent arrears. The Foo Fighters frontman then backed a $3 million bid to buy two floors of the building in which the studio is housed. This was rejected and, according to the New York Times, it’s thought that the floor on which the studio sits could fetch almost four times what Rosenthal is currently paying. Which leaves the studio with no more options.

In a statement announcing that the studio will close on 16 Mar, Rosenthal said: “I get that New York City is always changing and adapting like the living city it is. Maybe what I believe in is no longer of value, but it was for us and we lived it. As the city becomes more of a corporate and condo island, some of us wish for a better balance between money and art, between progress and preservation, and we hope that one day we will see a reversal of the destruction of conscience and community we are witnessing”.

He added that he intends to continue restoring and archiving analogue tapes from the studio and elsewhere, which has been the growth area of the Magic Shop’s business in recent years.