Abbey Road Studios at 90: Bryan Johnson

Abbey Road Studios at 90: Bryan Johnson

The Abbey Road Amplify event (November 11-12) will feature Spotify head of artist & industry partnerships Bryan Johnson in conversation with Yaw Owusu. Spotify’s relationship with Abbey Road is blossoming, and, according to Johnson, there’s more opportunity for collaboration than ever before...

How did Spotify come to partner with Abbey Road on Amplify? Where are the areas of crossover between the two businesses?

“We have a long-standing relationship with Abbey Road, and over the past few years we’ve seen artists such as Beabadoobee, Kano, Paul McCartney, Georgia, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Architects record in the Studios as part of our Spotify Singles programme. Amplify feels like a fantastic opportunity to build on this relationship, bringing together our focus areas of education and inspiration, and being able to connect with and hear from emerging artists and execs who’ll be shaping the industry going forward.” 

Abbey Road turns 90 this year, but its work is still at the forefront of the best new music technology. It feels like a natural match for Spotify…

“Studios are progressive by nature. Spotify certainly shares this mindset. It’s been impressive watching Abbey Road continue to push barriers on the tech front, and encouraging to see it continue to broaden out opportunities for the creative community. Newer rooms such as The Gatehouse and The Front Room provide more accessible creative spaces, and with the launch of Amplify, the next generation of artists, songwriters, engineers, producers and industry execs will be even better equipped to take their next steps.”

So, should the industry be excited about the future? What areas should we be looking to in terms of music and tech? 

“Community and connections are key right now. From our new social audio app Spotify Greenroom, where creators can host and participate in live discussions, through to group chat and short-form video platforms, it’s an excellent time to dive in and connect with an audience. The rise of Web 3.0 has really started to accelerate the number of opportunities for artists to reach communities across different platforms. As a musician and someone working in the industry, this is fascinating to see. The creator economy is gathering pace, too, with NFTs being a vehicle that can reward as well as create awareness and affinity.” 

The creator economy is gathering pace, with NFTs rewarding and creating awareness

Bryan Johnson

How important is it that the industry, and particularly the younger generation, know about the history of Abbey Road?

“Abbey Road has such incredible heritage. You feel it when you walk around the building. But it’s not just about what’s been before, it’s about what can be. So while it’s important to look to the past and respect the history, it’s crucial to keep all eyes firmly on the road ahead and ensure that studios and the opportunities they offer are relevant and accessible to the next generation. Abbey Road does an excellent job of this."

Can Spotify help spread that message? 

“Yes. Abbey Road has been an integral part of our Spotify Singles programme. In total, globally, Spotify Singles has amassed more than 650 songs across dozens of genres, featuring the biggest stars and emerging artists. It’s important that we’re bolstering and raising the reputation of these incredible creative spaces. We’re excited to continue this relationship with Abbey Road and I’m really looking forward to the partnership on Amplify.”


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