Music City Declares War On Home Studios? with Lij Shaw, Björgvin Benediktsson, and Chris Graham – RSR118 - Recording Studio Rockstars

Music City Declares War On Home Studios? with Lij Shaw, Björgvin Benediktsson, and Chris Graham – RSR118

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We interrupt the regular podcast schedule to bring you a breaking news story about how Music City is bringing the hammer down on working home studios!

My name is Lij Shaw and I have a Grammy awarded home studio in East Nashville TN called The Toy Box Studio where I have been peacefully recording local musicians for nearly 20 years. Until recently that is...

In 2015 (right about the time I started Recording Studio Rockstars) I received a letter from the Nashville Metro Codes Dept.It said:  


Apparently in Nashville TN, you can't have a home business that allows customers to come over to your house. So that kind of rules out making a living recording musicians playing together in my home studio. Hmm...

As you can imagine that scared the piss out of me, and I couldn't sleep for a week! After all, I have invested a lifetime career into creating my home studio and building a business that allows me to support my family (I am a single dad with a middle school daughter), pay my mortgage, and bills, and put food on the table.

I have spent 25 years becoming part of the Nashville music recording community, and invested everything into my home studio as way of life.So after I was finally able to get some sleep again, and think about what I should do next, I decided that I would NOT GO QUIETLY.

In fact I knew that I was not the only home studio owner affected by this. Nashville (aka Music City) is teeming with people who record from their home studios professionally. And we all have families to feed, bills to pay, and homes to keep. It's hard enough to make a living as it is in music without having the very city that claims our music as it's heritage come crashing down on us for recording in our homes.

Not only that but a home studio provides an affordable recording option for independent musicians that don't have a large recording budget (like the good 'ole days). Most independent artists can't afford to spend a thousand plus dollars a day on a recording studio for a big commercial facility. The presence of home studios is what allows for music to thrive on a local level, and ultimately grow into the bigger name artists that become household names. I knew I needed to do something.

So I spoke to friends. I spoke to lawyers. I spoke to the press. And finally I found two amazing law firms whose mission it is to defend our constitutional rights as citizens and home owners: The Institute For Justice, and The Beacon Center. These guys are passionate, and driven about helping us as a music community but also as individuals. They understand that this restriction affects all home businesses in NashvilleSo together with the help of IJ and BC we (myself and a retired hair dresser who simply wants to put a salon chair in her garage) filed a law suit against the city of Nashville for infringing on our constitutional rights to make a peaceful living from our homes.

This week I have been talking to local TV stations, radio, and newspapers, and frankly it's been breaking the internet around here! (scroll down for a list of articles) So I thought would create this emergency broadcast webinar just for you Rockstars to fill in the rest of the story.

Joining me are a couple of familiar home studio owners:

Chris Graham (

Björgvin Benediktsson (

We talked about the deeper issues involved, and you get to hear the longer version of my story too. I hope you enjoy!

Cheers and thanks for all your support,

Lij Shaw

Nashville Declares War On Home Studios? #FightForYourRightToRecord #MutedInMusicCity #HomeStudio @IJ @BeaconTN

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