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UNIVERSAL U.K.: ISABEL GARVEY
11/28/18

MD, Abbey Road

Digital-media expert Isabel Garvey, who joined the famed Abbey Road Studios as MD in 2014, has been responsible for implementing the largest investment in the space—backed by parent UMG—since it opened in 1931. That has seen the arrival of three new studio spaces, a retail store and digital production services, and the Abbey Road Institute, as well as Europe’s first music-technology incubator, Abbey Road Red.

Prior to joining Abbey Road, Garvey ran her own digital-media consultancy and previously spent five years as SVP Commercial Channels and Consumer Marketing at Warner Music. Before that she was VP Global Digital at EMI Music.

Those who’ve recorded music at Abbey Road this year include Nile Rodgers, The 1975, Noel Gallagher, George Ezra, Brockhampton, Jess Glynne, Lang Lang, and Sir Paul McCartney. Blockbuster film scores have been created at the space for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, the multi-award-winning The Shape of Water and the latest Fantastic Beasts film. “We’ve also been adding businesses to our music-tech incubator, Abbey Road Red, doing more research experiments with spatial audio and adding new remote studio services for the at-home music producer,” says Garvey. “Our aim is to stay innovative and relevant to music makers and artists today, so plenty more to come.”

From where she sits, what are the biggest challenges in today’s music business? “In my mind, the biggest challenge is learning to engage in growth again after years of disruption,” Garvey answers. “From our vantage point, in proximity to the creative process and technology, we see the next wave of technology coming, and it promises to enhance the creative process with exciting artist tools. We need to embrace this technology and help these businesses, and our artists, flourish.”

The most exciting thing about the music industry and its return to growth is the “renewed energy and investment in the creative process of young talent,” says Garvey. “I’m excited about the impact this will have on British music at home and abroad.”