Ben Folds to Vacate RCA Studio A Building

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  • Photo: Stephen Jerkins
We know, we know — you're probably experiencing some fatigue as a result of this story popping up in your news feed time and time again over the past month. Well, now it appears as though Ben Folds, the celebrity face of the #SaveMusicRow movement, will be parting ways with his studio space on Music Row.

If you need a refresher, here's a quick recap: Folds wrote an open letter expressing his concern that he might have to vacate the building at 30 Music Row West, home to the historic RCA Studio A; developer Tim Reynolds of Bravo Development said that, if he purchased the building, he wouldn't demolish it; Folds shifted his focus from "Save RCA Studio A" to a more general "Save Music Row," expressing concern that some historic parts of Music City will be demolished to make room for condos; building co-owner Harold Bradley (who helped build the RCA building with his legendary brother Owen and Chet Atkins) pointed out that he's been trying to sell the building, which he says is in bad shape, for decades; Folds explained why he never bought the place; the president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said he supports Folds; Bradley said the building was "not worth saving"; and then Tim Reynolds officially bought the place.

So today, Folds penned yet another open letter — which he posted on Facebook — saying that Reynolds has raised his rent "124 percent." "Haha, okay Tim," writes Folds, "we got it, and we’re moving out as soon as our current lease runs out." He goes on to plug the Music Industry Coalition ("a proactive, positive partner in the future of Music Row") and say that he "will continue to help them in any way I can." See the full text of Folds' letter after the jump.

Dear All,

After closing on the purchase of 30 Music Square West, home of historic RCA Studio A (of which I’ve been tenant for 12 years) Tim Reyholds of Bravo Development in Brentwood TN has just informed us that our rent will be raised 124%. Haha, okay Tim, we got it, and we’re moving out as soon as our current lease runs out. That means we will be there until end of November. He is on public record saying he will not demolish the building, though I’m not sure how any studio owner could make bottom line with rent that high.

We have and will continue to send investors and planners his way who have ideas on how to both preserve the space, keep the studio working and make everyone the money they want. I will continue to raise public awareness of the grand history of Music Row that is threatened by hasty development. Today we did Morning Joe and an NPR segment on 360 will also air soon — many more outlets to come. My hope is that all our efforts have given us a moment to pause and consider how Nashville might continue to grow, while also retaining the identity and culture that has made it Music City.

Since the rally was held at the studio on June 30, a group called Music Industry Coalition has formed, elected a Board, begun filing its official papers with the state, fashioned a mission statement and collected over 1500 members. Their mission is to give the working folks in the music industry a voice and to work with city officials on a plan for Music Row that allows our music culture to co-exist with new growth. I will continue to help them in any way I can.

Yeah, I’m sad personally, but I had a good decade plus run and will be recording as much of my new album as I can there before November, including with the absolutely incredible sextet yMusic from New York. The Nashville Symphony and I recorded my Concerto For Piano and Orchestra there recently. What other studio can handle 80-piece orchestras in one take?

This whole ‪#‎SaveStudioA‬ and ‪#‎SaveMusicRow‬ thing was never about me (or the former owners or Tim Reynolds) and that’s why the issue has resonated with people here and around the world who are concerned about retaining Nashville’s identity, culture and music economy. Thanks for reading, and for the concern and effort! It’s working. That’s all I got to say.

Ben

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