It opened in 1993, and closed in August 2007.
The complex hosted the first US version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for ABC in 1999 (on a one-day delay), before the current syndicated version and occasional specials moved to ABC-owned studios further north on the West Side of Manhattan. Other programs recorded or aired live from the Sony Music Studios included MTV Unplugged (including MTV Unplugged in New York, 1993 by Nirvana ), Sessions at West 54th, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and VH1’s Hard Rock Live.
Sony Music was also home to the current version of the word game Chain Reaction, hosted by Dylan Lane. Millionaire and Chain Reaction, both packaged by Michael Davies, are the only two daily national quiz shows currently produced in New York.
Sony Music Studios also hosted America: A Tribute to Heroes, a live telethon held 10 days after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The special also featured segments from CBS Television City in Los Angeles. Neither location was disclosed before air time because of security concerns.
On June 7, 2007, after a failed buyout attempt by former studio head Andy Kadison, Sony BMG Music Entertainment announced that it would be closing the studios. The building sold in November 2007 for $44 million, and it has been razed to be replaced by luxury condos.
The last television production housed by the studio was “Grand Slam”, another Michael Davies and Embassy Row production, hosted by Dennis Miller.
Sony Recording Studio is a renovation of a former rehearsal room at Sony Music Studios. The famed 54th Street recording and mastering facility provides state-of-the-art technologies and a wide variety of services for the music industry. The conversion from a rehearsal room also included the addition of a video editing room, a lounge, and an entrance vestibule. The recording control room is located across the corridor from the new recording studio, with visual contact between the studio and control room made via video. The project was completed in 1999.
Artec Consultants Inc worked on insuring an ideal acoustical environment for the recording space. The new studio does not allow an excessive amount of noise to pass into the new video editing room. Similarly, noise from the video editing room and its equipment does not pass into the recording studio. A concrete block wall and isolated floor were chosen to isolate these spaces.