Maida Vale Studios holds a cherished and pivotal role in the annals of musical history. Acquired by the BBC in 1933, it has evolved into a treasured venue. Throughout its history, illustrious names such as David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Dusty Springfield have graced its recording rooms. Moreover, it has become a nurturing abode for the BBC Performing Groups.
Maida Vale’s ownership has transitioned to a partnership comprising Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, along with Hans Zimmer & Steven Kofsky. These purchasers are resolute in their commitment to preserving Maida Vale’s heritage as a hub of groundbreaking musical creativity. Their intentions encompass the retention of the building’s original façade and the upholding of Maida Vale’s core spirit. Initial proposals also affirm the studio’s continuity, backed by an extensive renovation scheme for its existing recording spaces, amounting to a multimillion-pound investment. Additionally, a not-for-profit educational facility is envisioned, aligning with a steadfast dedication to fostering local employment, innovation, and financial infusion.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Co-Chairmen of Working Title, say: “Maida Vale Studios has been synonymous with artistic excellence for generations. The venue has become part of the fabric of the UK’s pioneering cultural industry, from helping to nurture new and ground-breaking artists, to housing some of the world’s most legendary musicians.
“We are thrilled to be working with our old friends Hans Zimmer and Steve Kofsky on this once-in-a-lifetime project and collectively we are determined to continue the BBC’s legacy at Maida Vale by attracting global talent to the UK. Through our redevelopment plans, we will future-proof the historic site, continuing its presence in the local community with a new education facility, whilst creating a world-class studio space for the next generation of composers, producers, editors and engineers.”
Lorna Clarke, Director of Music at the BBC, says: “Maida Vale has played such an important part in the BBC’s history, and its significance in popular culture is huge. We are so pleased to secure a sale which looks to continue the bright, vibrant future of music making in this iconic building – not only providing new studio spaces but jobs and an education facility.
“We look forward to being able to continue to deliver world-class music to BBC audiences with our new tailor-made BBC Music Studios in the wonderfully rich cultural district of London’s East Bank. The sale of Maida Vale comes after plans were announced in 2018 that the BBC will move its music studios and performing groups from its Maida Vale location to a new, purpose-built recording and studio space in Stratford’s cultural quarter of East Bank, residing in East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”
Hans Zimmer, composer and music producer, says: “The first time I worked for the BBC at their Maida Vale Studios was 45 years ago. I was just a kid, in awe, honoured to be booked to play on one of my first sessions. I still remember the strong pull, the desire to touch the walls, as if that would somehow allow me to connect to the artists whose extraordinary music had resonated against these walls on a daily basis. This was a place of revolutionary science in the service of art, this was a place that inspired you to give your best, where music was performed around the clock and art was taken seriously. For the people by the people. This was the place that kept a struggling musician like me from giving up.
“At the same time, Tim, Eric and I started working together, making our first movies. Movies not only made in Britain with the greatest talent the country had – and still has – to offer, but movies that often provoked and had something to say about a changing Britain; that gave voice to our generation. Usually by making you laugh. My work with Working Title gave me my career in Hollywood, where Steve Kofsky became my partner, and he and I made sure to drag the work from as many Hollywood films as possible back to Britain. So now I want to close the circle: make Maida Vale Studios a place that inspires, teaches, technologically serves the arts and humanity, and gives the next generation the same opportunities I was given: to create and to never give up.”
The new BBC Music Studios in East Bank – planned to open in late 2025 – will include tailored spaces designed to accommodate the world’s biggest musical acts and ensembles. Providing listeners with unparalleled access, the new studios will also be open to the public, featuring a library housing the largest sheet music collection in the world. It will be host to classical, pop and choral music and will accommodate the requirements of the BBC Performing Groups. It will also host music sessions from the likes of Radio 1 Live Lounge through to BBC Proms rehearsals, Radio 3 concerts, and special performances from the BBC Pop music stations, with the public invited to attend.
Moving the BBC Music Studios from Maida Vale is also part of a wider partnership with the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, UCL and UAL’s London College of Fashion to create London’s newest creative quarter, East Bank. This partnership has also extended to the local community, where the BBC has been supporting East London talent through a programme of music education and outreach including local apprenticeships such as the STEP traineeship.