A Legendary LA Recording Studio Is Blaring a High-Pitched Noise to Drive Away Unhoused People

Sunset Sound, where The Rolling Stones and Prince recorded, is now using sound as a weapon

The Rolling Stones recording the album "Let it Bleed" at Sunset Sound Studios in October 1969 in Los Angeles, California.
The Rolling Stones recording the album "Let it Bleed" at Sunset Sound Studios in October 1969
Getty Images

Los Angeles’s Sunset Sound Recorders has welcomed countless legendary artists into its hallowed halls over the years; more than 200 certified Gold records have been recorded at the studio, including iconic albums by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Prince, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Elton John and the Beach Boys. It’s an irreplaceable part of the city’s musical history, one that presumably attracts a decent amount of tourists looking to snap a photo. But now anyone who approaches the building is met with a painful, high-pitched noise.

The noise, which the studio appears to be blaring from the exterior of its building, is meant to deter houseless people from congregating around the area. Earlier this week, video of the obnoxious sound coming from the studio circulated on Twitter.

Naturally, many people in the replies to the original tweet pointed out how disappointing it is to see the studio responsible for some of the most beautiful music of all time using sound as a weapon. Aside from the inherent cruelty that goes along with treating human beings like vermin that need to be driven out, others (rightly) mentioned that the noise is loud and annoying to everyone in the vicinity of Sunset Sound. It’s a public nuisance, but the studio doubled down on it on Twitter, writing a copy-and-pasted response to many of the replies, saying, “The homeless almost burned down our property three times with their grills, crackpipes and Molotov cocktails they throw at each other.”

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Ah yes, Molotov cocktail fights, that totally normal and definitely-real thing that people regularly do. Even if there is an issue that is causing potential damage to the property, surely there has to be a more humane way to address it than by deploying the same tactics used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo. Has anyone tried simply asking the people congregating outside to please not light anything on fire near the building, or calling social services to send someone out and see about finding them a more permanent housing solution? Instead, the message is loud and clear: “Come anywhere near us, and we’ll give you tinnitus.”

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