Iconic New York recording studio Avatar fends off closure threat

Avatar Studios, which opened as Power Station in 1977, will be renovated, expanded and rebranded as BerkleeNYC.
Avatar Studios, which opened as Power Station in 1977, will be renovated, expanded and rebranded as BerkleeNYC.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM AVATAR STUDIOS WEBSITE

NEW YORK (NYTimes) - New York's most storied recording studios have been vanishing, victims of more accessible digital recording techniques and escalating real estate prices.

First went the Hit Factory, in 2005.

Last year, both the Magic Shop - a favourite of David Bowie who recorded his final album there - and Manhattan Sound Recordings were shuttered.

But now one of these spaces filled with pop-culture lore is being saved.

After almost two years on the market, the building that houses Avatar Studios has been acquired by Berklee.

The studio - which opened as Power Station in 1977, and where Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Bowie and the cast of Hamilton have recorded - will be renovated, expanded and rebranded as BerkleeNYC.

The recording studios will continue to operate commercially as the Power Station at BerkleeNYC, along with new offerings including educational programmes, performances and resources for local musicians.

"The number of studios shutting down is distressing in a city with such a celebrated musical history," Sting - who recorded part of his recent album, 57th And 9th, at Avatar - said.

"I understand how hard it is to keep a studio afloat in these times when so many can now make do-it-yourself records inexpensively at home, but there's nothing like a room with a history where the music seems to have been absorbed into the walls."