Features

Saturday Deluxe / 11 February 2017


The future looks bleak for HMV in 363 Oxford Street

HMV news

Sad news for SDE readers and music fans in Canada, because it has recently been announced that the HMV stores over there are all set to close by the end of April 2017.

The brand is said to be $39m in debt and HUK 10 Ltd who own it (a subsidiary of the Hilco who bought the ailing retailer back in 2011) are refusing to provide any more funds to keep the business afloat. There are 102 HMV stores in Canada and the company employs about 1,340 people.

In a related story, Retail Gazette recently reported that HMV in the UK is to close its iconic 363 Oxford Street store, four years after moving down the road from the larger 150 Oxford Street location. The landlords have apparently “commenced negotiations to surrender the lease through property agent Savills”. HMV have been located in Oxford Street for the last 96 years! Truly the end of an era, should the landlords get their way.


George Michael / Listen Without Prejudice reissue - super deluxe box set

George Michael

It’s all but certain that the George Michael Listen Without Prejudice reissue – already delayed from November – will not be released in March as planned.

With George still not even buried, one can imagine that promoting a reissue is the last thing on the management and the estate’s mind right now. US Amazon is already showing an amended date of 19 May for the 2CD edition, although the deluxe box and all the formats in the UK still optimistically list 3 March as the date of release. Indeed there’s speculation that the whole reissue campaign – let’s not forget there is also the tie-in documentary – will get pushed back until early Autumn. I’m sure initially, Sony would have hoped to have this out in 2015 for the 25th anniversary, but for the saddest of reasons it’s looking much more like a 27th anniversary set.

Read the SDE tribute to George Michael


noplan_blackvinyl

David Bowie No Plan EP pricing

Quite a few grumbles from fans this week at the pricing of the limited edition white vinyl edition of David Bowie‘s No Plan EP.

The official David Bowie store wants £37 for the ‘made-to-order’ four-track 12-inch, which – not wanting to state the obvious – is extremely expensive, even if the record does come with a die-cut sleeve and a lithograph. Once you add shipping (to the UK) you’re looking at a cool £42.

If you can forgo the white vinyl and the lithograph, the black vinyl edition of this No Plan EP (which still has a laser-etched B-side) can be ordered via Amazon UK for just £13 – a significant saving, I think you’ll agree. In fact, if you reside in France and you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can buy this black 12-inch for just €8.79, which is about £7.50!

Read more about the No Plan EP.

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112 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 11 February 2017

  1. Neil says:

    HMV are saying that George Michael will be released on the 8th September. It’s weird how he hasn’t even been buried yet after all this time.

  2. Jim Edwards says:

    So sad to hear it’s the end of the line for HMV. So sad to know I’ll never own No Plan on white vinyl. Honestly, how is the record company sleeping at night? Oh yeh, on expensive sheets. I received Sound and Vision picture disc yesterday (nearly £20 from the Bowie store!) and the B-side seems horribly distorted. Has anybody else had this issue? Would love to know. Thanks for another great week at SDE, cheers Paul.

  3. Trash says:

    For me the HMV at 363 Oxford St is *the* HMV store. Even though 150 Oxford St was bigger and closer to where I used to live in Soho, 363 was always the one.
    I queued there to get my copy of Warriors signed by Gary Numan and my copies of The Luxury Gap and Music for Stowaways signed by the band.
    I also waited outside (and risked being late for work) just so I could pick up a signed copy of Brilliant Trees by Sylvian (for some reasons they only seemed to have a few of them).

    I was very pleased when 363 reopened – will be sad to see it go again as I still pop in there from time to time to pick up vinyl.

  4. tom says:

    If you don’t want to pay 37 quid for an ep then don’t. Only obsessed collectors who can’t miss anything would pay that or those with more money than sense. The whole raison d’etre of these releases is to create collector’s items purely for the sake of it. For me, real collector’s items would have to have a genuine history attached to them. If you are bothered about this you should be more bothered about your “need” to have this item which you didn’t know existed a little while ago.

    • The Miser says:

      Thanks for the lecture. 37 Quid might be a kings ransom to you but for me it’s not even worth thinking about, so ‘horses for courses’ I suppose. You neglect to mention this will be worth a hundred quid easily as soon as it’s sold out, but that doesn’t actually surprise me, you were too busy telling everyone else what a waste it would be lol.

  5. Dave H says:

    It’s really sad to see what’s happened to HMV and other high street retailers that no longer exist. I spent many a day in the 80’s and 90’s taking the train to Charing Cross and heading to Leicester Square to Dave’s Sounds. I’d then continue to Tottenham Court Road and visit the Virgin Megastore to see if they had any decent Japanese imports.

    Next, there were a couple of hidden collectors stores in Hanway Street, a little alley behind Oxford Street. I’d then continue along Oxford Street to the HMV before turning off to Berwick Street where Sister Ray was in it’s old location near the market. Reckless Records was the second hand store up the road which always had a few promotional records. Berwick Street was forever changing with record shops coming and going.

    Back on Oxford Street, I’d continue to the other HMV superstore near Bond Street Station just in case they had something the other HMV didn’t have. If I had time, I’d catch the tube to Notting Hill to check out the Music & Video Exchange. All the collectors material was upstairs even if I couldn’t afford the records, I’d look at the walls to see what interesting stuff they had.

    On the way home I could stop off at Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus as well as a few Our Price records shops dotted around.

    Those were the days!

    Found this map that highlights the records shops past and present around Soho.
    http://www.djfood.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/11082308_871166672942415_1672106194763103349_o.jpg

    • Simon S says:

      A standard Saturday for many including me.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Same here… don’t forget ‘Cheapo Cheapo’ in Soho and those CD stalls in Chinatown/Leicester Square :)

        • Tomvox says:

          I started visiting Cheapo Cheapo when I made annual trips to London from Glasgow in the mid 70’s to stock up my collection. I got a job and moved to London in 1979 and from then on it was a regular haunt of mine until I moved out 10 years back. Happy memories indeed!

      • bob says:

        And for me also.

      • Simon F says:

        And me too. Oh those wonderful record shops tucked away in Hanway Street. Stuffed full of the most amazing things you never could find any where else and plenty of good quality bootlegs as well. Damn these bloody greedy landlords and ‘developers’. By the time these buggers have finished London is going to be quite unrecognizable.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Also Hanway Street was/is great to grab a beer in Bradley’s Spanish Bar. Great jukebox in there, too :)

    • Les London says:

      And don’t forget there was also the greatest heavy metal record shop ever Shades Records in a basment in St. Anne’s Court just off Wardour Street and Tower Records Piccadilly Circus too had some super import cd’s back in the day.

      • Mark T says:

        Shades was my first experience of an ‘independent’ record shop back in 1980/81. More like a shed actually. I got to hanging out there on my lunch hour, drinking tea and chatting with Mike (?) the owner. A lovely, personable guy who made a few bob out of me with bootlegs by Pere Ubu, The Who, New Order, Banshees, Bob Dylan, and many more. The early existence of the shop was precarious as I recall – one lunchtime I couldn’t help notice the cash register had disappeared, replaced by a small petty cash tin because he’d fallen behind on the rental.

    • Darryl F says:

      Dave like Simon S says it was a standard Saturday/walking trip for me also.

      I’m back in New Zealand nown I lived near Notting Hill 20 years ago and on my last ever music shopping trip I popped into the Record Exchange for a final shopping spree and ended up with Mick Jones behind me getting some video purchase !

      The Soho record jaunt was always a goodie. Marylebone Oxfam (?) store always had good stocks of promo stuff regularly coming in….

      I’ll always treasure those Soho/Berwick/Hanway strolls and miss my fingernails getting so much dirt/cuts on them !

  6. Tracy says:

    HMV online have George listed as released on 8th September.

  7. martin farnworth says:

    i reckon there will be lot of people who say they are sad about HMV but hardly go there anymore.

  8. MüllerMüller says:

    HMV – Sad Sad Sad

  9. gwynogue says:

    Sad to see George get delayed uh-gain, but I’m rather selfishly relieved about it too – I realised last week that I wouldn’t be able to afford it next month. I was going to (reluctantly) cancel my order, but now I won’t have to.

    Selfish I know, but being a music lover is getting so damned expensive nowadays! :(

  10. Phil says:

    Won’t this ‘etched’ disc be exactly the same as the 3rd disc on the Lazarus soundtrack – mine is white so won’t be bothering! Just saying

  11. Bob says:

    Such happy memories of 363 being invited to meet sir Paul the day before the event I will always cherish , really hope it doesn’t go

  12. alan says:

    HMV recently shut their shop in Brighton Churchill Square citing the rent charges as the reason. They did say they were trying to find somewhere else locally cheaper so they could reopen here.

  13. Jim Edwards says:

    Whatever Tom. Was just pointing out that the E.P. is over priced, no need to be confrontational. Jesus, some people!

  14. Adam Shaw says:

    Very sad about HMV .
    I use to work in Bayswater , every Friday night after work straight into HMV , buy something then back on the central line home .
    Re Bowie , my local record store will have the white vinyl but st the same price !
    The blue / clear version I’ve been told is for record store day .

  15. Bob M says:

    Being in Canada, and as a music lover and collector, HMV died years ago as far as I am concerned. It has become a “top 40” store, and movies have a bulk of the space. Most things remotely obscure have to be special ordered at exorbitant prices, and most online retailers, large or small, are far more reasonable. Sadly, these are the last large stores left, and most of the independents are very niche and alright, but not for everyone. I miss the whole pleasure of browsing and discovery, and for what it is worth, I think HMV should have taken a different approach – they should have built up the stores again, stock back catalogue, bring in discs at reasonable prices, and made their stores destinations for all ranges of music fans. Paul, you saw what it was like on your trip to Berlin. That is pretty much a dead dream in Canada.

  16. John says:

    Amazon US shows May for the deluxe box as well. It’s confusing…they have multiple sets listed.

  17. Straker says:

    I don’t like the 363 premises but as a marker of the demise of all chain record stores, save Fopp, in central London it is indeed a depressing time. Despite my dislike of it I sp£nt a lot there in 2016 (handy for picking up limited editions at fair prices on the day of release) and they had some decent enough £1 CDs and DVDs in the last couple of New Year’s Sales so I can’t accuse them of not putting some effort in. However it’s a soulless place compared to the ramshackle but much beloved barn of a shop at 150 which closed in 2014.

    Still, Amazon will be pleased as their bid to take over the world inches closer to being a reality.

  18. Andy Wyatt says:

    I’ve been using HMV a lot more the past year. They’re priced the same as Amazon and it’s a great feeling buying music from a shop on day of release again

  19. Michel D. says:

    HMV closing all their stores in Canada is really sad and not a good new for music lovers, I have 4 stores close to where I live (Quebec City) and I will miss going there to browse. Not only they had the cheapest prices and better selections than any other stores but I made a few friends while shopping there in the past.
    I will raid all four stores before they close while the prices are going down, but I will do so with a heavy heart!!!

  20. MINO says:

    I love London! HMV was the last big music shop in town, In 1991 with a firnd of mine and the yellow pages we visited it searching for music and it was full of music shops..now they are all gone. What a pity!

  21. Robert says:

    Sad to say, but the real reason HMV and all the other CD retailers have/are disappearing is because of us, the consumer. We all bought into the instant gratification/inferior iTunes quality digital files. We allowed it to happen. I’d spend hours in the three story Tower Records in NYC. I traveled to Toronto just for music purchases! It’s easier now to order on Amazon while we wonder why our bottoms get fatter. Obviously, there’s a love for the physical format with the resurgence of vinyl but afraid those good old shopping days are long gone.

  22. Daran says:

    I hope they take the opportunity of the LWP delay to add in the new documentary (assuming it ever is completed). It would make far more sense than including the South Bank show episode.

  23. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    in my opinion they should delete the whole george michael re-issue
    because there is one BIG mistake there ( unplugged concert from years later and )
    no demo’s. no alternative mixes. who will have edited album versions ?
    who needs those boring stuff if the single versions were not remixed for the 7″ ?
    maybe sony will decide in the next months to bring more
    interesting stuff on 2CD 160 minutes space.
    Then this re-release would be interesting for me. With that current list – not.

  24. Mic Smith says:

    HMV has been dead on its knees for years. The days when this was the go-to shop about town are long gone. And even back then it was only one of many shops to go to to get whatever was in our sights. Yes it’s sad – but more for the staff that will lose their jobs than for lapsed high street shoppers who have turned to the Internet in their millions.
    What with the death of the high street and variable prices on Amazon and the artificially inflated prices on most new collectibles, it certainly does feel like the end of an era, or perhaps the beginning of a new one, where sensible music fans say enough is enough, and spend their time and money in pursuit of something other than the fifth version of music they first bought with paper round money 30 or 40 years ago.

  25. DaveM says:

    Will be so sad if 363 closes, but really feel it for the guys in Canada. Whenever I am in London I always head there along with Reckless and Sister Ray, sort of a great little handy trip round some great stores and then usually FOPP in Covent Garden (yes us Northerners can find our way round LOL).
    For fear of the shops going, I try to split my spend between on line and in the Shops I use in Leeds and York, most recently buying a bunch of ABC CDs in HMV Leeds last week. Whoever put Lexicon of Love ll in their end of year albums list for 2016 on SDE was soooo right. That album is excellent, can’t stop playing it.

  26. Stevie B says:

    So stop pre-ordering from Amazon the moment something is released and wait to see what price HMV or any other high street/side street/back street record retailer is asking first (assuming you’ve got one accesible to where you live, work or study).

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The point is most people don’t have an HMV (or a record shop that sells new music) anywhere near them. I don’t, and I live in central London! I always pop into an HMV if I see one, and they’ve definitely improved over the last few years, but the days of making a ‘special trip’ to go to HMV are over. I imagine many feel the same, hence its slow demise is all but inevitable. Charity shops and used record shops are how I get the old school ‘fix’ these days!

      • SimonP says:

        Speaking of which, I used to enjoy your reports of charity shop bargains that you’d picked up. Why did they disappear?

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Resting for the moment… but may well be back at some point :)

          • SimonH says:

            Hard to beat this one – Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get it On, Sacd, £1.50 last week in a charity shop here in Bristol, I felt bad so paid £2:)

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            Fantastic. I still actively look for Now That’s What I Call Music 4 on CD whenever I’m in a charity shop (slim hope of ever finding that beauty).

            Probably about 8 years ago I found the SACD of Bjork’s “Vespertine” SEALED in one of those CD bargain bins in Morrison’s supermarket. I think I may have audibly giggled with joy when I came across it. It was £2. God knows what it was doing amongst the usual dross but it’s one of my favourite albums (the 5.1 mix is amazing).

          • SimonH says:

            Hah! I did the same! Went back this week and they had another Sacd for £1.50… Westlife. Oh well, never mind.
            Total digression, but keep meaning to thank you for giving me the idea for my wife’s Xmas gift…a trip to Berlin in March inc a Bowie tour. She’s a massive fan so it was a huge hit. Of course the lure of those amazing record stores had no influence at all:)

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            You’re welcome re. Berlin. I was only there for 4 days but that trip lingers long in the memory. Amazing city… absolutely loved it. Can’t wait to go back. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time

  27. Keith says:

    I stopped shopping at HMV basically because they never had what I wanted, in the Eighties there was always something to buy.

    In Swindon the music is 25% of its size at its peak, and tucked away upstairs. When you walk in you are treated by collections and reduced price reissues of reissues, t shirts and beats headphones.

    It’s no longer a music shop more an entertainment and boutique shop. Loss of direction I think

  28. Alan Crane says:

    There used to be an HMV near where I live in Bedford, but it shut about 30 years ago. Since then they had a few pop-up shops around Christmas time. Currently the nearest HMV is about 20 miles away – I just don’t have the time or petrol money to go there & besides from what I hear it no longer stocks vinyl. We used to have Andy’s Records, Sound FX/Our Price/Virgin/Insanity, MVC & Sounds Good to Me music retailers but they’ve all gone. All we have now in Bedford is WHSmith & the supermarkets stocking CDs. No specialist music retailers – so if you want something you have to order it over the internet. Still have the odd trip to London & visit the HMV shop in Oxford Street & the shops like Sister Ray in Soho but that’s only once or twice a year.

    • Danny Graydon says:

      Hi, there! if you’re referring to Stevenage in Herts, then they definitely sell vinyl! It’s my local HMV and I go there a few times a month. They’re also good at getting things in at customer’s request.

  29. Steven C says:

    Went to London for the first time in 18 years in Janauary. And while I’m almost always an indie person, I enjoyed HMV and Fopp more than I did Sister Ray and Reckless. Mainly because the two in Soho had nothing on my used LP wishlist and because we have nothing at all even close to HMV or Fopp in the U.S. at all. Amoeba Records in California (Hollywood or San Francisco) remain the best indie shop in the world.. well, outside of Japan at least) but HMV and Fopp were a lot of fun.. think I spent 200 pounds in each and had to buy an additional bag to get it all home!

  30. elliott buckingham says:

    been told by my local record store the bowie ep on clear vinyl will be £14-£15 on rsd

    • Nick Preece says:

      Trouble is all the dealers will bulk buy them all up and put them straight on eBay….. At ridiculous prices….. Like they always do….

  31. Michaël says:

    Another perspective on HMV’s fall in Canada: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/colby-cosh-so-farewell-then-hmv-dont-let-the-door-to-hell-hit-you-in-the-bum

    Here in Montreal the downtown store had improved in recent years but for a good 15 years it was not on my radar given poor stock, pricing and clueless staff. Still a shame given the recent improvements on all these fronts, esp. knowledgable staff and decent back catalogue stock. We’re now almost out of options for physical stores in the city. It’s annoying that Amazon.ca has basically become a monopoly here.

  32. Martin says:

    I just took the first receipt I got from HMV out: a whopping £36.31 for 12 records! Ok, it was augst 3rd, 1974 and I had no money left to take the bus back to the Camping site in Crystal Palace. Those were the days

  33. Nick Preece says:

    Sad to hear about HMV in trouble again….. Theirs me thinking Vinyl was making comeback…. Well so they say on the News…. Better cancel my George Michael LWP LP from HMV…..

  34. RJSWinchester says:

    Whenever my girlfriend and I pop into Winchester I spend most of my time mooching around HMV. Bought the new mix of Lift to Experience’s ‘The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads’ and a 3 CD Blue Break Beats compilation there this afternoon.

  35. John Lim says:

    I worked at the West Edmonton Mall HMV location in Edmonton
    Alberta Canada. Fond memories. Built up my CD collection as we
    get a staff discount. They have a 20% sale on vinyl including box sets.
    CDs are at 20-30% off.The Canadian HMV website is non-existent.

  36. Gareth says:

    I can recommend the HMV in Cardiff. Closed for about 6 months as part of a relocation a few doors down. To my surprise it re-opened as an old-fashioned HMV with good back catalogue and a healthy vinyl selection. Picked up the recent Bert Jansch cd boxset on the day of release. Numerous, visible friendly staff too.

    Use it or lose it, folks.

  37. Fat Old Bloke says:

    All the HMV stores I have been to around the world were always too expensive!
    No wonder they are closing down. Amazon is far cheaper.

    • Daran says:

      But that is because you are now used to cheap ‘box-shifter’ prices, as opposed the retail experience. The two are not the same, and the overheads of the latter far greater. High street rent and rates are killing it.

  38. Neil says:

    Instore HMV are expensive but a lot cheaper online. The problem with people preordering stuff on Amazon instead of HMV is that in the majority of cases regarding new releases HMV don’t stock them online which is annoying because i would much rather buy them from there.

  39. Michael says:

    Living in Canada, I agree with most have already said about HMV. They did have some solid “2 for $20” CD deals and I hope to pick up a few Pink Floyd discs before they shut down but it was a hard store to love. Pricing for older discs was completely ridiculous and stock was usually pretty iffy. I would pop in once every couple of months to see what they had but that was about it.

    Most of my purchases now here in Winnipeg are split between Amazon, a book store that has a fantastic boxset section (McNally Robinson) and the local used stores which still get in some great used discs every time I go…. and still seem to attract a bit of a crowd.

  40. aubrey says:

    Sad (if perhaps inevitable) news about HMV on Oxford Street. IIRC, Paul, I think we used to use it as a meeting point sometimes (in the days before mobile phones!) so if one of us was late (okay, probably me) the other could just mooch around the racks… seems a lifetime ago now.

  41. David Fisher says:

    I was in the Oxford Street HMV yesterday and asked a member of staff about it closing. She said it was just a rumor and not true. Time will tell.

  42. Derek Langsford says:

    It is so sad to see the continued demise of brick and mortar stores as well as physical media though I am as guilty as many with the loss of stores.

    I used to trawl the stores of Edinburgh every Saturday morning when I lived there (at Uni), and spent many an afternoon doing the same in San Diego after I moved here (Grad school). In the College Area of San Diego we had a Tower Records, Wherehouse Records, three independents, and a big used store (Record Trader) in the 80s and 90s. Could usually find something among them I wanted. All are gone now. Target and Best Buy have reduced their music selection to nothing worth bothering with searching. The only half-decent store in the County, (Lou’s Records, Encinitas) has shrunk from its heyday and is too far to travel for the small chance of finding something I really want.

    That’s been the biggest problem. Stores rarely had anything I wanted in stock and made me pay premium to special order. As soon as eBay, hmv.co.uk, and Amazon came around, brick and mortar stores became an afterthought. The thrill of the hunt at stores became so unrewarding and was easily replaced by the gratification of an eBay win and the ease of browsing at home on a computer. Lower prices made it even better, though that was the root cause of the problem for stores, then came music sharing web services and iTunes that stabbed them in the heart.

    I used to use hmv.co.uk but then their shipping prices to the USA went through the roof, and since their relaunch, they have not been able to ship outside the UK. I visited the 363 Oxford St HMV shop last time I was in London (2015), bought some back catalogue CDs on sale, but was not overly impressed by their breadth of selection. Also loved to go down Berwick Street to Reckless etc.

    I will still visit music stores that remain when visiting other cities, but artists own websites, independent music websites, Pledgemusic, and Amazon.co.uk and .com have become my sources for purchase of physical music. I am now wondering how long that will last.

  43. Gisabun says:

    More thoughts about HMV Canada…. Not surprised. Overpriced….
    https://ebraiter.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/another-record-chain-bites-the-dust/

  44. Frank says:

    HMV Canada closing is truly the end of an era. I have so many memories associated with going there since I moved to Canada some 15 years ago. I really can’t think of any store that sells new CD releases and a sizable back catalogue of CDs with HMV gone, it really is the last of its kind :( Went to the location in downtown Vancouver the other day, such a sad scene with mostly empty racks and 20-30% off stickers all over the place… all we have left now are vinyl record stores that only sells new indie CD releases with jacked up price. Guess I’ll have to resort to online shopping thru Amazon or artists’ own stores now.

  45. snowsnowsnow says:

    Former HMV USA employee here (1996-1997)! Been gone from the States for quite some time. Made it up to Montreal once and visited a HMV Canada shop – picked up an Etienne Daho release – Canadian CD pressing. Sad to see HMV Canada closing up and reading the UK HMV stories. Fond memories of those days – 99 cents cassette singles, Titanic soundtrack madness, etc. Any other SDE fans former HMV USA employees? Another vote for a new installment of your charity shop purchases, Paul.

  46. Dr Volume says:

    With all due respect there is some irony in SDE, a site which is pretty much clickbait for Amazon, having any interest in the fortunes of HMV.
    HMV are running a very tight ship as I understand it, and they appear to be doing their best to keep the ball in the air in spite of landlords best efforts to price them out and ruthless competition from Amazon and the supermarkets.

    I don’t use Amazon because I don’t like the way they have slashed away at high street retailers by undercutting prices which they achieve by treating their staff appallingly and playing it fast and loose with tax contributions. I love record shopping in actual record shops. I am very fortunate in that everything I want I can find in my local Indie record shop, second hand shops, and Fopp or HMV for mainstream stuff.
    I’m lucky in that all these are easily reached in my city but I do understand that those of you who live long distances from such places just don’t have these options – and I’m also aware that a lot of the box sets and SDEs never get near high street retailers so the record labels could, and should, do more to help the high street – but the vibe I get from this site is that a lot of you just live in Amazon world and that is the norm – which I find a bit worrying.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      No irony at all. SDE is a site that simply reflects how a majority of users (not all) purchase their music – online. We are all complicit in the death of the bricks and mortar stores, there’s no point pretending otherwise. I’d like a local high street branch of my bank, but that doesn’t exist either for the same reasons that record shops have closed down. The reality is you have to deal with the world how it IS not how you wish it to be.

      On SDE people have the option to purchase from Amazon, HMV, JPC and soon FNAC in France will be added. If there were no links on SDE I flatter myself that it would still provide a useful service to music fans, so I do take exception to the ‘click bait’ comment.

      • Dr Volume says:

        Apologies for the click bait comment Paul , that was a bit harsh and I do enjoy the site and appreciate your efforts (and surprised how little attention magazines like Record Collector pay to the SDE market)

        Suffice to say it is still possible to enjoy a day of old school crate-digging at least in the North West where more new shops have appeared than have closed in the last few years…although prices for second hand vinyl is creeping up and it’s near impossible to find anything decent in a charity shop (and if you do it’ll be behind a glass case with a price based on Discogs going rate)

  47. Mark says:

    The stand alone music store is all but dead, the last closed in my city this year. I’m 47 years old, and cannot travel, so I will never purchase a CD in an actual CD store ever again. I fear in a decade we may see the death of the physical format. The kids don’t seem to buy cds or vinyl . I truly wonder if those of us who do are a dying breed. I wonder how many physical units are actually sold now, I bet the number would make me very sad. Paul, would you have any idea what these numbers would look like today?

    • Daran says:

      The numbers worldwide are still pretty healthy. Even with CD’s. Vinyl still on the up….. What will kill physical media is not people not wanting it, but rather electronics manufacturers not making the equipment to play it on – like cars for instance, increasingly not having CD players on the head unit. Playback of digital media on disc requires fairly sophisticated electronics, not available to be made/designed by the small cottage industry hifi brands, but turntables being in the analogue realm can be. Which is why vinyl may well survive on as the sole source of physical media. Once the likes of Oppo, Sony et al stop making CD / universal transports then CD’s are done for.

    • Paul Herberts says:

      I am quite upbeat about the future of vinyl. Both my niece and nephew have asked for turntables for Christmas and my niece is having a whale of a time going through her dad’s old collection (which I had enjoyed for several years and sadly had to give back once they had a turntable in the house again). Again CD’s will survive as well as a lot of manufacturers are making multi format disc players these days.

      On the demise of record shops here in Scunthorpe our one and only independent closed down almost 20 years ago to go online and the last record shop (HMV) deserted almost 10 years ago so the nearest shops now are 30 miles away in Grimsby and Doncaster. Even when we had an HMV it was mainly Top 40 and getting something out of the ordinary was a chore and so much easier on the internet. Sadly this is the way things are going but I do miss afternoons spent trawling through racks of vinyl (my wife learnt a long time ago that if I was going anywhere near a record shop to stay at home!)

    • ZoetMB says:

      At least as far as the U.S. is concerned, I disagree strongly with Daran. I can’t speak to worldwide numbers and the 2016 final numbers aren’t out yet for the U.S., but inflation adjusted full year 2015 numbers show the business is just 33% of its former peak and continuing to decline.

      1999 was the biggest year for the music business in the U.S. at $14.58 billion at list prices ($21.25 billion in 2017 dollars). 2000 was the biggest year for CDs when 942.5 million were sold. In 2015, only 122.9 million CDs were sold. In the first half of 2016, only 38.9 million CDs were sold, so that business is dying fast. I would expect 2017 to come in at well under 50 million units. It should be no surprise that those remaining record stores are closing. I’m amazed there are those that are still open. There is not a single major record store left in Manhattan and there’s only one decently sized store in all of NYC (Rough Trade is Williamsburg, Brooklyn), although I’ve noticed recently that Barnes & Noble has improved their selection and has lots of boxed sets.

      But Europeans and the Japanese have always been better collectors than Americans, so maybe it’s not as dire in those regions.

      Fans talk about the increases in vinyl sales, but the base is very small, so it’s largely hype and anecdotal extremes that don’t represent the mainstream. In 2015, 16.9 million LPs were sold in the U.S. In the first half of 2016, only 8.4 million CDs were sold. Considering that there have been single albums that have sold 10 million units, the entire business being just what two big hit albums used to sell demonstrates how small it really is.

      In 2015, the total business (including downloads, streaming, etc.) was just over $7 billion. The first half of 2016 was $3.431 billion. It will be interesting to see what the full year numbers are once the RIAA releases them.

  48. Eric W says:

    Like everyone else, i have a lot of fond HMV memories. Changing times and demographics means that we have to accept that there is no longer a place for this iconic retailer. I gave up hope for brick and mortar after my favorite store, the Virgin Megastore, on the Champs D’Elysee closed…

  49. SimonP says:

    I nearly always buy something in HMV when I’m passing, but that’s not very often, as it’s in Bath, a half hour drive away on a good day. I used their Jersey based online store loads back in the day, but the current one is a pale imitation and very rarely has older back catalogue type stuff on there…

  50. Chris Squires says:

    Being a Brummie my Saturday morning trawls involved both HMVs, 100 yards apart on New Street, the original small Virgin records under that was Rackhams before the superstore. Cyclops, Reddingtons Rare Records (equally brilliant and a rip off by turns), There were lots of little shops that sold records in the Bull Ring and Oasis shopping centres and then Swordfish and The Plastic Factory before heading slightly out of town for the second hand shops that were by the Catering college and The Diskery. A Whole day with sore fingers replaced now by a keyboard. And a slight note to those who are definitely a bit snarky it’s not just that times move on but LIVES move on. I just don’t have the time to spend day trawling around shops. I do it about twice a year now. So “Use it or lose it” whilst a good point is not relevant to my life as a 50 year old self employed Dad of two in a medium Wiltshire town rather than a student at Aston with a dozen + record shops within a couple of miles and all the time in the world to avoid doing that essay. I do buy from Sound Knowledge and RPM as decent independents but haven’t from HMV as Town is a sh*t hole full of the unemployed and the unemployable. If it goes it goes, like Woolworths, it’ll be sad for what it was to my 18 year old self but not for what it is now.

    So it is sad, but almost inevitable. The kids who do hang about town are not buying physical music and 50 year old Dads don’t have the time or inclination to go into town centres. If I went into Brum / Walsall / West Brom. in 1980 – 1988 I would guarantee that I would come home with at least half a dozen bits of music. Kids now come home with a Maccy Ds and a new pair of sneakers. No music at all. So it’s Spotify and the internet that is doing the damage not SDE or Amazon. Music inhabits my kids’ lives just as much as it did mine but they have never spent a penny on it and I spent all of my Saturday job money on it there is the problem.
    Todays teens / early 20s do not see music as something to be paid for.

    Whoa, longer post than intended sorry.

  51. David Sharp says:

    The story states that the flagship Oxford Street Store is rumoured to close, but the comments on here give the impression that all HMV Stores in the UK are disappearing. There has been no talk of that and while it is natural to think that with the situation in Canada, this could be the case, I remember reading not long ago, that since HMV was re-launched it was performing well, especially with the resurgence of vinyl. Am I missing something?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, there’s no suggestion that HMV are closing all their stores in the U.K., it just seems that their business model doesn’t support one massive ‘superstore’ in expensive Oxford St.

  52. Alan says:

    In recent years I have started to use HMV again. They can usually match Amazon on price these days, and most of the other online retailers I used to use have gone. I hope they still have a future.

    Disappointed about George Michael. I ordered this from Amazon along with Faith 2CD/DVD as they were selling it at £9.99. I notice the latter is now 3rd party offers only, minimum £24.99. They were going to send them together. If I cancel Listen Without Prejudice, I wonder if they’ll still honour the price I paid for Faith, and even still have mine in stock reserved? They’ll add postage but I can live with that.

  53. Shane says:

    Tom, you said it best, and I completely agree with you when you say “The whole raison d’etre of these releases is to create collector’s items purely for the sake of it. For me, real collector’s items would have to have a genuine history attached to them.”
    Also, 37 bucks for a 12″, are you freaking kidding me. Talk about milking a dead cow! I don’t think David would have liked this.

    • RJSWinchester says:

      “don’t think David would have liked this”

      Even if Bowie were alive I doubt very much that he would be too involved in the marketing side of things.

  54. TMT / Trent says:

    Another Canadian who was not surprised HMV’s fortunes. Grew up around Edmonton and although picked up unique items such as David Sylvian’s Weatherbox was still forced to use independents for items such as Gary Numan imports.
    Vancouver’s original downtown HMV was a great store spending hours in the listening section as the staff knew their stuff, but that too eventually lost in the real estate game as a relocated HMV became Virgin and is now Victoria’s Secret. The HMV Canada website was horrible but I still had the loyalty card since I did manage to find something when near a shop (which is/was two hours away).

    I will be in London in late March and had hopes of ‘revisiting the old times’ but by the sounds of things discussed here, it might be better to do an online order and somehow deliver to the hotel as a photo in front of the Oxford store might be what I walk away with.

  55. Mike Pendlebury says:

    Such a shame to hear that the Oxford Street HMV might be closing. I have travelled down from the Midlands multiple times over the last few years to catch a gig there and attend record signings. Always tried to buy some music there to show support. Remember them playing Wire’s “Change Becomes Us” album. It sounded amazing and got me to start investing in their catalogue. I moved to Oregon last year so it’s sad that I could have made my last visit to the Oxford Street HMV. I’m still supporting record stores over here – Music Millenium is a treasure with amazing staff – and I work in the music department at my local Barnes & Noble (has a nice vinyl section) usually once a week so still showing record stores some love!

  56. Tom says:

    For what it’s worth, my local HMV in Eastbourne is about to close down, with the company claiming they are unable to find a suitable alternative unit in the town – a strange stance considering a new shopping centre development is underway. Even the Brighton store is no more, which leaves Hastings as the closest branch. I could be completely wrong, but this does seem like the beginning of an end where HMV is concerned.

  57. Martin says:

    Just to add to Dave’s Story. When i was 20 i regularly hopped on a 3 day bus tour from germany to london (with stops in amsterdam and brussels) for 99 Deutschmarks (roughly 40 pounds then) just to have 8 hours time for exactly that route – while the other travellers looked out for the crown jewels and madame tussauds. 72 hours later i finally made it home with bags and bags of vinyl. Those were the days…

  58. Chris Squires says:

    Another element to this story of course are greedy Landlords or just Landlords dependant on your point of view.

    Most city centre closures come on the back of rent hikes at the end of contracts. The price of even the simplest unit in a shopping centre is (to me at any rate) exorbitant.

  59. CJ says:

    As someone who lives 30 minutes from the US.Canadian border, I’m going to really miss HMV. I like to drive up to Kingston, Ontario, a few times a year to pick up as many of the Canadian-only releases as I can, plus the store in Kingston always seems to be running great deals on back catalog items. I read the link to the newspaper column that seemed grateful for HMV’s departure, but it seemed rooted in the HMV model of about 30 years ago, when, yes, they were typically over-priced and had nothing to really offer. The large store on Montreal was always a must-stop any time I was near it. I do hope this will mean a longer life for the mom-and-pop shops, but so many of those are very specific in what hey have in stock, I will miss having a broader selection to choose from.

  60. DaveM says:

    Speaking of going to shops, just been to Pontefract to a great store called Seen and Heard which I visit from time to time and only picked up a pristine CD of Paul Simon’s Greatest Hits, etc which I have wanted forever, but is usually about £30 plus on line. Paid the princely sum of £4 – talk about chuffed to bits!

  61. Tonk says:

    Sorry to say, but there’s no HMV in Edinburgh any more (Edinburgh!) and the Brighton one is going too apparently. Sounds like it is par for the course across most of the country. If HMV goes believe me, the record industry is in serious trouble.

    Paul, you promote deals with a certain massive online retailer in your deal alerts, and yet can you not see that this is the whole reason there are no record shops in the UK any more.
    Yes I know you promote HMV deals too, but remember it’s the software that does the pricing these days, so inevitably that massive online retailer wins. They also sell at little profit, and sell everything too, so one corner of their empire can bolster the areas where they make nothing (like music).
    Indies and HMV cannot beat this. A large part of our collective culture has been destroyed by a behmeoth that cares nothing for your likes and dislikes in music, just your cash. Sad but true.
    And to those folks who say record shops were too expensive, well get real, wages, rents, lighting, stocking all those overstocks, insurance, security . . you name it – running a shop is not cheap. But at least you could go there and expound to someone as enthusiastic as you as to why x-band were crap and y-band were good.
    All gone now.
    Well done you know who.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I said in a previous comment “We are all complicit in the death of the bricks and mortar stores, there’s no point pretending otherwise”.

      The online world has had a massive impact in physical retail, regardless of the sector. So that includes banking, fashion, travel, music etc. Organisations have to adapt to survive, that’s the reality. Even the quaintest record shop in the world still has be make a profit to survive. They are businesses.

      Also, I don’t really buy the ‘poor old HMV’ philosophy. They made some atrocious decisions (computers, technology) and for years were hardly worth browsing in, so bad was their A to Z section of catalogue artists. The fact is, they weren’t quick enough to recognise the threat from the likes of Amazon and change their business model and invest in and develop their online presence.

      Having said that, if you believe HMV, they are selling more ‘entertainment’ (music, DVDs etc.) than Amazon, so all should be rosy!

      • Tonk says:

        The problem with stocking catalogue is there is simply too much of it and only enough space so where do you start – it isn’t easy. I used to buy for Virgin back in the mid to late 80’s and it wasn’t easy then despite the listing of what you really should stock being printed on the backboard, before centralised buying affected everything. 50 copies of the latest Chaka Khan LP and only 5 Saxon, in a working class city in the North of Britain . . . yeah, right.
        Human intuiation worked, you got a buzz about something and stocked it, usually it worked pretty well.

        You must realise though that were HMV to fold, there would be a tsunami of catastrophic proportions in this industry. Like them or not they are the face of bricks and mortar in the UK and like I say when you are trying to make money from your business, you haven’t got a hope when a competitor is selling at just above cost.
        You might not have liked browsing in them, but in town like, say Perth, HMV was a damn good little shop, that had a regular and consistent customer base, and it was somewhere to go that stocked a decent selection of everything. It was closed a few years back and is still missed.

        You might be surprised to learn that a lot of indies use the behemoth as a supplier simply because (outwith the £20 min order) you can use it as a supplier in much the same way we used to use Golds. That is how utterly ridiculous things are – it is sometimes cheaper to buy from the behemoth than from the actual label’s distributor, which is just totally NUTS.

        I feel for HMV, yes business is cut-throat with no room for sentiment, but all the same, you can go in and browse, which is half the fun. In the current market and dealing with ‘competition’ like this they haven’t a hope in hell.
        When they’re gone there’ll not be an equivalent setting up in their place. And it isn’t just the UK – this is worldwide and it is a shit situation.

        Look beyond the now and try a bit of forward thinking – when you’re dribbling your A***** gruel into your A***** bib in an A***** carehome, the reality might hit home. Ask the indie retailers of EVERYTHING from books to toiletries to electricals to gardening stuff to groceries . . they’re hurting
        This isn’t just about retail anymore – every single bit of money spent at the machine feeds the machine
        It requires a conscious effort to break the habit.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          We’re going around in circles a little bit. Once MP3s and illegal downloading ruined the music industry and then when online retail started taking over as the way consumers choose to shop, a massive national chain of record shops like HMV simply cannot work in this new economy. The fixed costs rent, staff, utilities etc are far too high. And they can’t compete. For smaller independent shops, it’s a different matter. They don’t have to compete with Amazon, they can offer other things. I think HMVs demise is inevitable. Yes, it will be sad, but once your ‘local’ store has gone (mine closed 5 or 6 years ago) they’re as good as ‘gone’ anyway, since the stores aren’t exciting enough to make a special trip for.

          • Tonk says:

            A little bit in circles Paul and I’m not getting at you, but believe me, Amazon are in on everything and it is really kicking the smaller shops who used to rely on general footfall for mainstream stuff (which was largely destroyed by first supermarkets, though we rode that quite well, but then Amazon with their destruction pricing) to help the finances so they could stock wide and deep.
            So, that source of income from say a top 20 album has gone, then what do you do if you’re an indie and stock say a lot of releases on Invisible Hands and find that Amazon are selling a key new release for you on that label at 4 or so quid cheaper (incl free P&P)? You lose your customers and there’s no guarantee they’ll come back – it’s a shit situation as I said before.

            Whether HMV can work or not, well, they’re really trying, but a level playing field would be good and that’s not there for them. When they go (and I want them to survive, so I’m not talking them down, but withdrawing from just about every major High Street is a bad sign) there’ll be massive repercusions. Presumably, the reduction in outlets might well indicate massive losses, which means if they fold labels and suppliers don’t get paid . . like I said it’s massive.
            Yeah, it’s an old school retail model in a changing world, but that model is a keystone in the arch of the industry.

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