Abbey Road Studios, Fender, Shure, Korg and Dynaudio share Covid-19 impact and plans

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our industry, with music venues closed, live events cancelled and recording studios forced to shut their doors. On the other side, home recording is on the rise and more people are making music than ever before…

We spoke to several key industry experts to find out what the crisis means for them and how they plan to get through it…

Abbey Road Studios

Managing director, Isabel Garvey

As soon as we knew the government was about to recommend a lockdown, we notified staff and clients that we would be ceasing operations until further notice, and the technical team started to power down the building.

It all happened very quickly and it only took us a few days to close the big oak doors to the studios for the first time since our opening, in 1931.

We turned our attention to everyone making music at home, by sharing advice and ‘how to’ content from our engineers. We also created a programme called Abbey Road Red Turntables, which was a series of free, one-to-one mentoring sessions for music tech start-ups trying to navigate the challenging landscape.

We reopened for mastering first, in May, as it is a naturally self-isolating job, and the studios opened again for recording again in early June. It is wonderful to hear music being recorded and mastered in the studios again. Given what we have been through in the past four months, I think trying to predict the next 12 months is a folly. We hope to see social distancing reduced and a slow adjustment back to ‘normal’, but we are taking it month by month.

We want to focus on keeping our doors open and making recording, mixing and mastering as inspiring and normal as possible, while adhering to the latest government guidelines. Artists and musicians are self-employed, so we want to make sure they have the opportunity to record and play at the studios, and ensure they retain an income throughout this period.


Nieve Cavanagh, vice-president, marketing (EMEA)

Fender is a global business and transitioned its offices to working from home wherever possible a week before the UK entered lockdown. We have adapted extremely well and having offices all around the world meant we were in the fortunate position of being able to manage remote working effectively, while also working closely with local governments to reopen our factory and warehouse operations when they deemed it safe to do so.

There is a continued demand for musical instruments and we have seen a surge in sales of our beginner/entry-level products. There has been a real appetite for learning guitar at home during lockdown, which gave us something really positive to focus on. Our Play Through initiative offered three months of guitar lessons free to over three quarters of a million people via our online learning platform Fender Play. We are hopeful that these trends will continue over the next 12 months.

We have worked with several artists to raise money for charities including the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund. We are eager to see live music return as soon as possible and it’s important that we all do what we can to help until that day comes.




Korg (UK)

Ricci Hodgson, Managing Director

Our main concerns were our staff and the company continuing to function. Some staff are working remotely, supported by online coffee breaks and yoga! Everyone has worked hard to enable our online dealers to satisfy demand for our products.

Our quarter one business was strong, however, product availability as well as Brexit, may pose challenges with the supply chain, along with forecasted economic fallout from Covid-19.

We’ve supported our artists to perform virtual gigs during lockdown. As venues reopen, we need to encourage the public to experience live music – these venues are the essential delivery point of musicians’ creative endeavours. That is how you build life-long memories.


Stuart Moots, director of pro audio, UK & Ireland 

Prior to lockdown, I got the Shure pro audio team together to plan out what the next six to nine months might look like if the worst was to happen to the events industry –

four weeks later we were all working from home. We rolled out plan B and began to work on the new Shure Audio Institute Masterclasses. Historically these are live events that we host at Shure or across the country – we adapted them for online use.

Within a week of lockdown I could see that the pro audio side of the business in the UK was going to be challenged. Those customers with a good online presence were able to keep going, but a return to normal business for production and rental houses will only happen after UK events get the green light. It’s been tough, but we are fortunate that some Shure products are in high demand. Although the return of pro audio business is further down the line, I am cautiously optimistic that a return to normal is possible over the next 12 months.

Shure has been a huge advocate of ensuring that we are constantly talking and staying connected to those that are struggling. In the UK we’ve hosted regular training sessions as part of the Shure Audio Institute.

We’ve been a big supporter of the Music Venues Trust in the UK – grassroots venues are in desperate need of help, but, more importantly, the events industry as a whole needs more support. I know we will see the return of live shows, film and TV productions, the West End and everything else in-between, but the landscape may well be very different.


Rune Jacobsen, director, sales Pro, EMEA and Americas

I knew the industry would find other ways of doing things. Recording from home has had an extra boost. I think most artists have a [home recording] set-up – some of our customers have upgraded their home studios to handle Dolby Atmos. We’ve even seen live TV shows engineered from home.

Business has been excellent. We had a small dip in April, but since then it’s been extremely good – and way above our 2019 numbers. Our biggest issue has been to be able to supply enough, as, naturally, with the global crisis, the supply chain has taken some hits.

We’ll see a lot of new releases this autumn and winter. Artists are at home creating music – our sales to home studios clearly show this. The live music situation is difficult. Everyone involved is going to need a lot of help – from the artists to all the pro audio companies that make their living from live music and events. We’ve already seen 2021 gigs being cancelled. I think partnerships will become a bigger thing.