Ben Folds Moving Out Of Studio A, Says New Owner’s Rent Hike Is Too Much

30 Music Square West was on the market 24 years before Bravo Development bought it. Studio A takes up the entire windowless space; the rest houses multiple offices. Credit Nina Cardona/WPLN
30 Music Square West was on the market 24 years before Bravo Development bought it. Studio A takes up the entire windowless space; the rest houses multiple offices. Credit Nina Cardona/WPLN

The musician who spearheaded the charge to save Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A tweeted today that he’s moving out of the facility later this year.

In addition to using it as his own work space, Ben Folds runs a business renting out studio time to other musicians interested in recording there.

Last week, a Brentwood developer took ownership of the 50-year old building. Folds’ manager, Mike Kopp, says word came Thursday night that rent is going up 124% when the current lease expires in November. For a business that Kopp says only breaks even, that kind of hike just isn’t in the budget.

“He clearly wants Ben Folds out of this space and he wants to make the situation, create a situation where nobody can afford to come in here and record music.”

A press release from the newly organized Music Industry Coalition says multiple other tenants in the building plan also to move rather than pay the higher rent.

The letter sent to Folds by attorneys for Bravo Development says the increase is necessary to cover the cost of upkeep and bring the rent into line with other rates around the Music Row neighborhood.

Both the previous owner and the new one, Bravo’s Tim Reynolds, have characterized the structure as being out of date and in need of significant repairs. While Reynolds had indicated he wouldn’t buy the building unless he could find a way of saving the recording studio, he now says it’s listed for resale with hopes of finding an out of state buyer.

Nina Cardona

Nina Cardona is WPLN's host for All Things Considered. As a reporter, she covers a wide range of assignments with an emphasis on culture, the arts and local history. A graduate of Converse College, she's lived in Middle Tennessee most of her life.
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