Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A was at standing room only today as a crowd rallied to save the place where Elvis and Dolly Parton recorded with Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley at the helm. But Musician Ben Folds, who rents the building, told the group to change their cry from “Save Studio A” to “Save Music Row.”
Folds described himself as just a guy who got notice taped to his door that the building was being sold. Since that happened last week, he said he’s discovered a bubbling discontent with the redevelopment of Nashville’s music industry district.
Pat McMakin has worked as a recording engineer, producer, songwriter and executive on Music Row for more than three decades. He told the crowd there’s more at risk than just the buildings where country classics were recorded:
Do we really want Music Row to become a museum where people drive through and say, ‘That’s where history used to be made?’ So while it’s important to preserve history, it’s even more important to keep these places alive and where business continues to thrive and grow. Otherwise, Music Row becomes one giant tourist attraction that hangs by the skin of its nonprofit teeth.
Of course, no one can force record labels and publishing houses to keep doing business on a few historic blocks. But an organization formed this weekend called Music Industry Coalition hopes to at least encourage local government leaders to build some sort of legal protections for the neighborhood.
Studio A got a reprieve of sorts when the developer set to buy the building announced he intends to either preserve the space or back out of the deal.