New York's Hit Factory Studio To Close

Celebrated facility to live on in Miami.

The Hit Factory, one of New York’s largest and best-known recording facility, will close within a month.

The company will move its headquarters to its Miami facility, the former Criteria Recording, which the Hit Factory acquired in 1999. The future status of the New York studio at 421 W. 54th St. is unknown.

Since the late Edward Germano purchased it from producer/composer Jerry Ragavoy in 1975, the Hit Factory has become one of the world’s most celebrated recording facilities, offering an opulent work environment for the likes of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, U2, Barbra Streisand and Paul Simon. It has long been favored by top producers and engineers.

Hit Factory GM Zoë Thrall would not comment on the closing. But in a statement, owner Janice Germano says, “The Hit Factory paved the way for how recording studios approached the artistic process of making music. In doing so, it forever changed the way artists thought about creating records and raised the art form to a new level of innovation. That approach will continue in its Miami facility, the Hit Factory/Criteria.”

The closing serves as the starkest illustration to date of the precipitous and, many audio professionals fear, irreversible decline in the fortunes of commercial recording studios. Industry consolidation and reduced recording budgets have severely hampered the ability of large, multi-room facilities to maintain a business model that had worked for several decades. The rise of inexpensive digital audio workstation equipment has allowed high-quality recording to be accomplished in virtually any environment by non-professional recordists.

“It’s a drag,” says Mark McKenna, studio manager at Allaire Studios in Shokan, N.Y., of the Hit Factory’s closing. “It’s a drag for the whole business, but that’s proof that the whole business paradigm has to change. You just can’t operate this kind of mega-corporate structure. It doesn’t make sense.”