The new owners of Abbey Road Studios have big plans to secure "its musical future," reports Bruce Orwall in The Wall Street Journal (5/2/14). The Beatles’ recording studio was sold by EMI Group to Universal Music Group in 2012 for $1.9 billion. Assuming Universal can get the necessary approvals, the plan is to "add two new studios aimed at new rock, pop, and urban artists; a ‘retro’ studio stocked with vintage Abbey Road gear … and gear to make recordings for a new Dolby ‘immersive’ cinema sound."
The idea, in short, is to make Abbey Road accessible to a "new 17-year-old’s guitar band," says Universal chairman David Joseph. Universal is also making Abbey Road available to the general public in a way it wasn’t in the past. Studio Two, "where the Beatles recorded the vast majority of their catalog," is open to tourists "for two weekends each year." Tickets cost about $140, and attractions include the opportunity for quartets of visitors to recreate the famous final chord of ‘A Day in the Life’ on the same pianos the Beatles used.
Visitors are also guided to the exact locations where the Beatles set up their gear and stood when they made some of their earliest recordings. They are treated to lectures and a demonstration by Ken Scott, a Beatles-era sound engineer, of the special effects used, for example, on John Lennon’s vocals on Lucy in the Sky. Abbey Road is also in a joint venture with Panasonic to create an Abbey Road-branded audio system for cars (link), and is "exploring a high-quality Abbey Road streaming music business."