When It All Falls Down
Teddy Riley is one of the greatest producers ever. He was a movement by himself, and when he was with Guy and Blackstreet, a force when they were together. “New Jack Swing” changed the sound of music in so many ways.
I thought it was crazy when I heard last week that Teddy Riley was being forced to sell his Virginia studio, Future Records Recording Studio, because he owed creditors upwards of a million dollars. I imagined that Teddy had to have banked way more than a couple mill during his run, and obviously if he got in too deep he could always reform Blackstreet and hit the road, or just get back in the studio, which he actually ended up doing over the past few years. Shit, he might want to even dip into the earnings of Pharrell and Timbaland, since they owe their careers to the guy and all. Just saying.
My understanding is that he contributed a huge chunk of music to Snoop’s new album, Ego Trippin, but I doubt the platinum plaque that Snoop earns for this album help get Teddy back on track. But then again, I can’t see how the guy is in this much financial trouble in the first place. Check it out:
In 2002, Riley filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. He emerged from bankruptcy a year later, but that didn’t stop his money troubles. In 2004, the Internal Revenue Service filed a $1 million lien against Riley for unpaid income taxes. In 2006, Riley was forced to sell his house in the ritzy Church Point neighborhood for $1.5 million to pay off federal and city taxes, as well as the home’s mortgage. Last year, the IRS filed another tax lien against Riley for $196,747. And just last month, the state filed a $93,684 income tax lien against Riley. The studio, too, is mired in debt. In 2005, Riley borrowed $700,000 against the studio from a local lender, Equitable Relocation Services Inc. Riley defaulted on that loan, and the lender won a $700,000 judgment against him in 2006.
The problem, according to the Hampton Roads article, is that the recording studio is out of date. When it opened in 1991, it had the latest technology for that era. But times have changed so much, and the cost of maintaining and operating that type of studio doesn’t make sense anymore. Just to air condition an SSL console should cost upwards of a thousand dollars a month. Teddy hasn’t upgraded the spot, and so the entire place- the business and studio itself- can’t draw clients or potential suitors who may want to just buy the whole operation from him. If he still wanted to keep the spot, he could most likely sell the equipment piece by piece, but even that might not help him much. The studio I used to work out of sold their SSL console a few years ago and didn’t get much. Face it, that type of stuff just doesn’t have much value anymore, and there’s so little money floating around in the music business itself that a purchase of that price starts making little sense.
Just sad to hear the news, really. As a producer, there’s really nothing worse than losing your studio. That’s like losing a significant other or something like that, considering you spend so much time there and your heart and soul gets poured into it. I would only hope that today’s current crop of hitmakers take care of their money better.
Hopefully things work out for Teddy.