The initiative was launched during the pandemic on a ‘pay what you can’ basis for those hit hardest by the crisis, with two tiers of membership fees for larger and smaller facilities.
It was designed to give the UK’s recording studios an official voice, alongside the producers and engineers already represented by the body. Founder members included Abbey Road and RAK Studios, but the scheme has also welcomed more boutique facilities such as Electric Bear Studios in Nottinghamshire and Altar Studios in Barnsley.
"Being part of the MPG Studios Group has created a stronger community of studios and support network, resulting in a more unified recording landscape in London," said Fiona Gillot of Abbey Road Studios. "With advice and regular updates provided by [MPG executive director] Olga Fitzroy, we have been able to work together to achieve a safe and secure working environment for our staff, clients and musicians. We look forward to continuing this relationship for years to come."
The lines of communication between studios that this group has opened up has created a real sense of community
Helen Broadhurst & Emma Townsend, RAK Studios
The MPG has been part of a DCMS-convened working group since the start of the pandemic, developing industry-led guidance for the sector and has successfully lobbied for government research into singing and wind-instruments that enabled these activities to resume in professional facilities in June last year.
"The work that the MPG Studios Group has been doing has been fantastic," said Helen Broadhurst and Emma Townsend of RAK Studios. "The lines of communication between studios that this group has opened up has created a real sense of community. Having an official body who liaise with DCMS and other agencies such as the MU has been of great assistance, especially in navigating Covid and Brexit."
While studios closed their doors during the first lockdown in March 2020, most studios were able to continue working at reduced capacity through subsequent lockdowns. However, the devastating impact on the live industry has left many recording and rehearsal studios, such as Glasgow’s Carlton Studios. relying on the trade body for assistance.
“For over a year we have been trying to speak with politicians in Scotland to try and stop the exclusion of music studios from accessing government Covid funding, namely business rates relief, but have been either ignored or given the run-around," said Carlton Studios' Lesley O’Brien. "It was a huge relief to know that we now have the backing of the MPG, who are presently in consultation with Scottish government ministers. Whatever the outcome, we are grateful for the efforts made that has allowed our story to be heard by the policy makers. Without the power of the collective voice, the music industry is powerless."