Guillermo Gonzalez, president of Iberia at Warner Music, has spoken to Headliner about the company’s ground-breaking new Madrid-based hub The Music Station, and how it is going to become “a magnet for global artists”.
Last month saw Warner Music Spain and Warner Chappell Music cut the ribbon on The Music Station, a new facility aimed at artists, songwriters, producers, managers and the wider creative sector, located in the former Príncipe Pio North Station. The space consists of more than 10,000 sq-m, and is designed to satisfy the creative and technical needs of the companies’ artists, songwriters, employees and partners. It will house Warner Music Spain, WMG’s local recorded music company, and Warner Chappell Music Spain, the music publishing arm of WMG.
Open 24 hours a day, 365 a year, it houses Dolby Atmos-equipped recording studios and a co-working space for employees, rehearsal rooms, photography and video sets, composition rooms, co-working areas, call booths, creative and meeting rooms.
Furthermore, its central building boasts a theatre that Warner Music Spain will use to host gigs and events, with a focus on live music. It can accommodate up to 1,000 people in a theatre setting and 2,000 people at a standing concert.
Headliner spoke to Gonzalez to find out more about this latest venture, what the hub has to offer the creative community, and what it means for the future of the music business as we know it…
Tell us about the origins of The Music Station. When did the concept come together and how big a challenge was it to complete the project?
The concept of The Music Station springs from several sources. First, our recorded music CEO, Max Lousada, has embedded the concept of ‘artist first into Warner Music’s DNA. The artist needs to be at the centre of all our decisions and the way we work should be organised around their needs.
Second, the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns meant that the concept of the office, which seemed solid and unquestionable, suddenly became outdated and obsolete.
Third, we had an opportunity to secure a unique space. A building that was a Madrid icon, but which had been sadly empty and disused for many years.
Pulling these strands together, we realised that we could establish a creative and collaborative space that could be a second home for our artists, not just somewhere where they come for the occasional meeting.
We had already closed a deal for the venue part of the old station, as part of our 360 operations, but the adjacent towers were still empty. We realised that with less need for office space, we could kit one of them out with the latest equipment for recording, listening and content creation. Together, they would be a new cultural hub for Madrid, and we couldn’t think of a better place as we thought about reimagining our world.
What is its purpose beyond that of a typical record company HQ?
The purpose of The Music Station is to become the first music hub for artists, songwriters, producers, music industry leaders, managers, and content creators. It represents our vision of where music is going. We are reimagining the role of a music company to become the largest provider of services to the artist community; and we believe this place will boost creativity of our people and our artists. We want to be in the epicentre of music creation and both sides - professionals and artists - be part of the process from the very beginning.