Features

Saturday Deluxe / 29 December 2018

Dury out on new HMV in Oxford St

HMV – The Dream Is Over

The news about HMV is grim and the strength of feeling on this issue is obvious by the number of comments on yesterday’s post.

It’s a difficult area to analyse properly because emotion and nostalgia muddy the waters somewhat. The truth is, HMV is a bit like an old flame who you once loved dearly but have long since moved on from. If we do lose HMV from the high street, I will be remembering the good times – for me the 1980s and 1990s – and they really are just memories, with not even a faded photo as evidence of all those hundreds (probably thousands) of visits.

I very rarely go into an HMV these days for a number of reasons:

  • There isn’t one anywhere near me. I have to journey half an hour or so and pay £5 to travel there via public transport
  • With a busy family and work life I do much of my music browsing online, often in the evening (perhaps sitting in front of the TV). This is the convenience factor. Obviously, if you see something you like it’s oh-so-easy to click and purchase.
  • While the music section of HMV has definitely improved in recent years, the overall shopping experience isn’t great. DVDs and Blu-ray still take up the ‘premium’ shop floor space, with music relegated to the back/upstairs.
  • The ‘surprise’ factor has disappeared. For anyone looking for interesting product beyond the charts or 2-for-£10 type sales, with so much information available online and everyone plugged into artists’ social media channels, the likelihood is that you already know about that limited edition coloured vinyl, or the new box set.

Having said all of that, I will almost always pop in to an HMV if I’m in the vicinity. Even if the CDs in the racks are all largely familiar, there’s still a pleasure in walking up and down an artist ‘A-Z’ section and seeing actual, not virtual, product.

There’s lots of talk about HMV not being able to compete with internet pricing, but funnily enough, for me, price isn’t necessarily the big driver from HMV stores to online. For example, I bought the deluxe CD edition of Elvis Costello‘s new album in HMV a while back. I think it was £12.99. If I had taken my iPhone out and seen it for £11.99 on Amazon, I would still have bought it from HMV because, well ‘I’m here and I have it in my hand, I can play it when I get home.’

And this brings us to the economics of the situation. Why should in-store HMV try to price match online Amazon? The HMV website probably should, but I would argue in-store doesn’t need to. What’s wrong with a small premium, in return for the customer experience of being in the shop, having staff to ask questions to, and being able to take home the product there and then? If a CD is £9.99 online then £10.99 in-store doesn’t sound so bad. Are consumers really that price sensitive these days? Also, anything under £20 on the HMV website requires paying for postage, which often isn’t factored in.

The counter argument is that HMV shouldn’t have two different prices for the same product online and in-store. I say, why not? As with my experience with Costello, if you have gone to the trouble to be in the shop in the first place and you have something you want to buy in your hands, then half the battle is won, surely?

Such debate is perhaps irrelevant, because HMV is in the unenviable situation of selling two physical products that, thanks to technological innovation, can now be delivered via streaming. I refer of course to CDs and DVD/Blu-ray. As the CD market started to decline in a post Napster era of iTunes and more recently Spotify, HMV saw DVD as a way to keep the income and the profits coming in. Multi-season box sets of Breaking Bad, The Office, Only Fools And Horses, Friends, Dexter and many more would literally be stacked up on the shop floor and sell for the £40-50 mark (maybe more). That market has been decimated very quickly, by the likes of Netflix, Now TV and iPlayer and has fallen over 30 percent in the last year, alone.

HMV apparently sat back and failed to see the threat of digital to CDs, and they’ve effectively done the same again, with DVD and Blu-ray. Where was the planning to ensure history didn’t repeat itself? Is there anything that could have been done?

In reality, HMV was probably always doomed. The business model has remained broadly the same, while the world changed around them. People who still love CDs, vinyl and physical product should be their saviour, but there are simply not enough of them – and they are not visiting HMV shops, probably for similar reasons to the ones I listed above. And even much of that group don’t consider music a luxury product – something they will pay a premium for – so the margins enjoyed in other retail sectors like electronics, fashion, jewellery, and the like, simply don’t exist. The very casual CD buyer may well be picking up his or her copy of The Greatest Showman in Sainsbury’s while doing the weekly shop and then those who aren’t bothered about owning the physical product use Spotify or download (legally or otherwise). HMV can only derive income from the first of those three and for that reason the HMV website might still survive, even if the shops disappear from the high street.

But let’s get real. The days of ‘Last Christmas’ selling a million copies at around a £1 per seven-inch single are long gone. Think of the money that was made. That’s a million pounds of income for the industry from ONE SEVEN-INCH SINGLE. This was the same year that ‘Two Tribes’ was number one for nine weeks, selling a similar amount of 12-inch singles at £2.99 each. Massive sales, generating enormous income, funding gigantic mega-stores. Those sales have gone, the income with it, but we expect the mega-stores with their enormous rents and fixed costs to survive?

The dream is probably over for HMV but our passion for music endures. Smaller independent shops and online options (both big and small) will remain and hopefully thrive. For now, I remember my old flame, who lived in Oxford Street, very fondly.

186 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 29 December 2018

  1. Bob predton says:

    Interesting points from all angles. Thing is, HMV got more wrong than right. Many times artists offerings were just the greatest hits or popular releases. I recently went in to my local HMV and looked for a CD pn my wishlist. I knew it was £9.99 at Amazon. HMV ofered it for £14.99. Now a pound, as you say Paul, I would have bought it. But not a fiver.
    As for pricing, don’t know if this is relevant. I had a record shop in the early 80’s. Paul Young’s No Parlez cost me £4.19 including vat to buy in. Boots the chemist was selling it for £3.99. So sales of the popular releases were going from the independent record stores and going to chains. I couldn’t exist just on back catalogue. So we have few independent stores. And hats off and a big salute for the ones surviving.

  2. Laurence says:

    Out here in Australia music and DVD retailer JB Hi Fi do it smarter. They still sell CDs DVDS and vinyl to draw people in but it’s quite clearly a loss leader. They make their dough on computers, mobile phones, laptops and white goods. A much cannier business model and one that appears to be sustaining itself. Still a shame to see HMV go but there’s always FOPP.

  3. Julian says:

    The BBC reported the figures for sales of physical product. CD sales fell 23 % in 2018 and vinyl sales have flattened out ( up 1.6%).

  4. Daryl says:

    I’m 36, and when i was 14, my Dad took me to see The Rolling Stones at Wembley. Right then and there I fell in love with that band and decided to embark on the (what at that point, seemed like a) mammoth task of completing their discography on CD. The very next day I started by buying the current single (I Go Wild) in Woolworths. Over the following months (even years), I continued visiting the local record/second-hand record shops armed with my pocket money – looking desperately for the cheapest price I could find. I would visit HMV, Our Price, Woolworths, Trumps, Music Box, Virgin Megastore and some local independent stores such as Sounds Familiar in Romford.
    The idea of physical product has stayed with me over the years, but I suspect that I am the last of that generation. Nowadays kids want everything NOW. Even a short bus trip into the nearest town to buy a DVD seems like an eternity to someone who is used to tapping their phone screen twice and having the same film streamed directly into their hand.

    Unfortunately for HMV, even those who want to have the entire discography of a band in physical product, can get them far cheaper now online. If for example I was starting my Stones collection now, I could probably get the lot on ebay today for a fraction of the price I paid 20 years ago, and have the whole lot delivered to my door by the end of next week to boot.

    I wish HMV weren’t finished as I still use them a lot. But then I also wish that they had lowered their prices a bit. I know not everyone is on a tight budget, but I am one of those who is – it’s why I shop in Lidl and not Waitrose.
    Also, don’t HMV own FOPP? Can’t they just turn them all into FOPPs?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      I’m 55 and have never embraced downloading or streaming. It doesn’t suit me for how I prefer to collect or listen to my music. Physical product every time for me; mostly vinyl but sometimes find CD is the better option.
      I’ve heard that Spotify is supposedly useful to ‘try before you buy’ but YouTube can be just as helpful

      • Luke Ballinger says:

        I agree completely: physical music always wins with me, too. I’ve never taken to downloading and I’ve never even bothered streaming. Having just recently turned 40, I’ve always had enthusiasm for music from the 1960s and ’70s (before I was born), where the packaging was just as important as the music contained within. I generally buy CDs (the 2-CD reissue of Paul McCartney & Wings’ RED ROSE SPEEDWAY being the most recent, as a Christmas present), but on occasion I like to get a vinyl reissue of an album which may be a particular favourite of mine (such as The Beatles’ ABBEY ROAD and Pink Floyd’s WISH YOU WERE HERE, both of which have been reissued beautifully on vinyl in recent years).

        As I said, I have never streamed music and I’ve not downloaded any individual songs in months now (never have I downloaded an entire album) – there’s nothing tangible to look at and it’s a big turn-off for me to not have any kind of physical contact with the music. Buying a physical album means that you’ve paid for it the once and it’s yours to keep and cherish – this is hugely important both in and of itself when you’re a music-lover and collector.

        It’s a shame about HMV. I have to admit, however, that I tend to buy from Amazon these days or even straight from the label (Real Gone Music is a case in point here; they’re a bit pricey but they ship from the States really quick and so far I’ve had my CDs within a week). Generally, there’s just much better range when shopping online which HMV can’t hope to match with high street stores, so my regular pilgrimages to Oxford Street stopped some years ago, I’m afraid. It would be nice, though, if HMV could maintain some kind of online presence without having the overheads of expensive-to-run shops to worry about.

        I would also question, though, the observation that tastes in how we consume music are changing: fundamentally this is certainly true but, frankly, I just don’t think young people are really that interested in music like they once were. They certainly don’t revere rock bands like they did in the days of Led Zepp or the Floyd, while many solo artists these days seem to be admired more for their looks and fashion sense rather than the quality of their music (now I really am sounding like an old fogey!). But as has been said, the days of the million-selling single are long gone, and I do wonder how many “copies” of a download really are sold these days in comparison with the massive vinyl sales of the past. The sales achieved by the likes of, say, The Beatles back in the ’60s or ABBA in the ’70s are never going to be matched by the artists of today, and furthermore I don’t think contemporary popular music will have the longevity of what has gone before. This is compounded by the fact that the advent of consuming purely digital music has somehow made it all so disposable: just hit Delete and that pesky Ed Sheeran song is gone. And as for the coveted Christmas Number One spot nowadays – who cares?

      • auteur55 says:

        Sometimes CD is the ONLY option because the title is not on Vinyl or cost’s a fortune. One reason why I hope CD sticks around.

  5. Frank Otero says:

    Always saddens me to hear another record store has disappeared. This was such an important part of my life growing up. Still I wish there was a time where I could be excited to visit a store anticipating what might be there. I suppose every generation has problems like this. So I try to keep it in perspective.

  6. El Nino says:

    The stores vary so much – I like Maidstone but Canterbury is not so good. I’ll miss them when they go. I’ve always found browsing the racks relaxing and there is nothing else near me.
    FOPP is another matter – I don’t have one near me but on a visit to Cambridge last year I came out with a couple of bags of books and CDs. The selection was excellent and that in a small shop. FOPP felt like a proper music shop. HMV tries to cover too many bases.

    • JuzzyB says:

      Agreed. Viva Fopp Cambridge! They cover a lot of non-mainstream and back catalogue stuff, but the offers on chart CDs and Blu-Rays are also there if you want them. As you say, they don’t need massive floor space to do this.
      HMV needs to make a lot of its shops smaller and more interesting.

  7. SimonP says:

    Just did my bit and spent 60 odd quid in HMV Bath. Got the new Suede album for a fiver, a couple of others for a similar price and some 4K Blu-ray films…

  8. Cris says:

    Thank you for the article and for the very well expressed reasoning Paul.
    I think the main point that explains the crisis is the very expensive rents for megastores vs low income as compared to the Eighties.
    Couldn’ t the management have thought of a stripped down version of HMV with a chain of more numerous, albeit much smaller, shops maybe?
    Even so, here’ s my small homage to the fond memory, as you rightly say.

    1977, eight years old, first time in London from Italy with my parents. My first plane travel EVER. They/We most probably bought Abba’ Greatest Hits in the Trocadero HMV (of course I was totally unaware, but if tradition is tradition and it was the same one I found there in the 80s/90s/00s, then HMV it really was…
    Summer 1983: my second time, and the first of numerous returns: the Japanese 7″s… New Year’ s Eve 1984: packs and packs of 12″s… And all the following New Years until 1987, always with my parents patiently waiting for me outside or wandering around the shop or helping me browse for ages… Thank you so much for your Love and Patience, you magnificent Mum and Dad.
    Summer of 1985, with a group of friends: the gigantic “Born in the USA” manifesto taking up all the floors in Oxford Street… And so on for 24 visits to London along the years.
    November 2010: I am so sorry Dad for letting you go back alone to the hotel in Trafalgar Square because I had to have the last browse in HMV Trocadero at 10 in the evening… For me it was just “Walk down this road with the Theatres and turn left and you ‘ ll be there”, but unfotunately you missed it and had to ask a policewoman for help without speaking English… I hope you have forgiven me and are laughing about it now.
    Last time (but hoping there will be another) November 2016, enthusiastically seeing the old 1960s sign above the doors, and buying a quite expensive The Coral album and a few DVD series…
    Here’ s to you HMV: a million thanks for being my “land of milk and plenty” and my first stop when in London for all my life, and for being another memory connecting me with my Parents.

  9. Chris Squires says:

    Having read every post below I would suggest that if HMV had a half decent management structure, a visionary or two and owners who wanted it to succeed rather than bleeding it dry it could be doing quite well. With owners of the calibre of, oooh I don’t know, just owners with vision and belief like Steve Jobs who didn’t worry about plastic toys and headphones, didn’t get sidetracked by DVD and Blu-Ray and just became a music store. The go-to place instead of going down the Woolworths route of selling anything and everything.

  10. J says:

    Paul
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
    I think you covered all the bases with this post. Well done.

    I don’t know anything about HMV but I googled images just to get a basic idea & was completely shocked that the photos show heaps of Blu rays. WHAT?? I have not bought a physical Blu Ray in at least 13 years and find this offering obtuse @ best. I have a few friends that buy physical video so they get extras, cut scenes, etc. but this is the exception, not the rule.

    I think the many are not prepared for the video options that lie in wait. Ex nihilo formations (NEWTV run by run by Meg Whitman of all people) live app-based TV (MovieBox), a la carte programming, IP delivery (DIRECTV NOW), skinny bundles (Sling) & many other video-based conduits. For years the BBC has been tinkering with moving from linear streams to object based streams that can reach and any & all devices in an attempt to stay relevant (which will not work). Every dog has his day. This includes Amazon, Netflix & so forth. The only thing they think about is their demise. Revolution & /or evolution is the rule for video
    J

    • SimonP says:

      It wasn’t even possible to buy a movie on Blu-ray 13 years ago, so no one else was buying them then either!

  11. MichaelK says:

    Lots of interesting comments and attitudes. Thanks for that. Clearly there are big changes going on in the ‘marketplace.’ Whatever, I wonder, happened to the marketplace in the centre of town? Buying music used to be a kind of ritual for many people linke to a cult of youth movement. Owning the physical artifacts themselves was important in itself and showed other people what one was interested in. I know a guy who became interested in a girl, fell in love with her and married her, initially because he found a rare Bob Dylan bootleg in her collection and thought, she must be… the one! Years later he discovered that she didn’t even know she had the lp, someone else had just left it behind by mistake after a party!

    This is just to illustrate how our desires, dreams and emotions are, or used to be, deeply mixed up with music. Music used to be really, really, important in postwar youth culture and a central part of their identity, for three or four decades. Now there is so much else competing for peoples’ attention and their money. Bob Dylan was a kind of guru for millions of white, middle-class people in the western world, similar to Shakespeare’s role in defining one’s identity. All that kind of thing seems to have changed. Art is no longer… Art, the way it used to be, and, therefore, not as important and signifies less in peoples’ lives and relationships.

    Rock music, for example, seems to have become the new, or old, Jazz music. A form loved and appreciated by an enthusiastic minority, but of less importance to the great mass of consumers. The amazing revival of vinyl seems to underline this change.

    Music simply doesn’t appear to be as important in young peoples’ lives as it once was. The Beatles career shows this. They went on an incredible musical adventure, quest and journey and we all, to a greater and lesser degree, went along with them. The leap, progression from ‘I want to hold your hand’ to ‘Strawberry Fields forever’, meant something close to profound, for millions of people, worldwide. A cultural education that was shared. It’s doubtful that’ll ever happen again in pop music because times and people have changed. The Greeks of Athens are no longer the way the Greeks of ancient Athens used to be.

    So, it’s not just about changes in the marketplace and the rise of Amazon, all that’s complex enough, but it’s also about how our artistic and cultural world is changing at the same time around us. Much of this is worrying and unfortunate. We appear to be becoming less linked to physical things in society and the virtual is taking over more and more, replacing the ‘real world’ with something else.

  12. Nick J says:

    Disney Mike, I have no idea where you get your .01% figure from, but I don’t agree. Please can you explain its origin?

    HMV has shown that it can not only take on the online retailer regarding physical media, but beat them. And the simple reason why people might buy an album over access to millions and millions of songs a month is we wouldn’t have time to play millions and millions of songs. In a lifetime, let alone a month. Because the average song is maybe three minutes or so, we can replay that over and over, in a way you couldn’t with a favourite film, so we’ll form an attachment to it that excludes listening to millions and millions of other songs. It’s just how we are with our music. And it’s why suggesting we’d abandon treasured albums in favour of millions of tracks we don’t know is so spurious.

  13. RetroPopBoy says:

    Your response comes from someone spoilt for choice. My local HMV the ONLY record shop where I live. If HMV goes, I’ll have no choice but Amazon.

    Also, don’t forget that HMV have been issuing rather nice exclusive editions, which I’ll miss if it goes.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Well, I have no ‘local’ HMV and no local independent record shops that sell new CDs. Nada. It’s not a competition or anything but please explain how am I ‘spoilt for choice’?

  14. FROM MARS says:

    If you love someone, set them free.. or possibly not.

    The Virgin/HMV/Tower/Soho run was a blast. Since then, no downloads/streams/orders from warehouse giants.. everything is no more than a phone call/e-mail to the good men at a store in west london. Which doesn’t prelude a stroll to FOPP or HMV most Fridays after work, where something can be added to the shelf.

    Is it a luxury, spending more instore. It won’t be when it’s gone.

  15. Otto says:

    I hate how “content” (movies, music and games) are nothing more than that nowadays.
    There was a time I bought Twilight DVD’s (not not the vampire thing). These DVD’s where full of all the latest games, all neatly hacked and ready to install. I never felt a connection to any of these games. I got bored quickly and in an instant I deleted it and went on to the next. Now I buy games and stick with it and love them.

    The same with music. U used to buy an album after being in love with 1 or 2 of the singles. I never wanted to listen to the rest in the record store but went home an hated half of it. But the other half I loved and skipping a song wasn’t something you did and during a week or month the record grow on me and the songs I hated ended up the once I loved the most.
    I invested in a record player a few years ago and I love it.

    When Twin Peaks first aired I was taken by the music, the visuals and the story. A week long the discussions at school where about what the hell was going on. And I prepared myself with black coffee and cherry pie (both I don’t care for) and soaked up the next episode. I recently tried Netflix (3 months for free with PlayStation Plus) and didn’t like it and canceled it.

    Music is the soundtrack of my life because I took the time to listen to it, really listen. The album cover is the image of the first time I kissed a girl, that vacation at the beach, that year at school that was amazing, the moment I lost a loved one. The same goes for movies and games for me and I’m glad it’s back.

  16. Andrew Bar says:

    HMV will be the start of the sad and slow decline of the high street. Within 20 years everything will be online only.

  17. John Ireland says:

    Another take on the HMV situation that is worth a read.
    As Paul says, it was likely doomed from the start.

    http://voxboxmusic.co.uk/2018/12/the-hmv-money-go-round/

    • Chris Squires says:

      If that article is to be taken at face value then it looks as though Hilco and the whole HMV operation has a touch of the (Sir Philip) Green’s. Buy it, strip it, let it die whilst plonking millions elsewhere.
      Such an inglorious end to a much loved brand. The shame of it all is that it is entirely legal.

      Music was always meant to be the fall-guy.
      Fair play Paul, you had always said that once you strip away the romance of the name “HMV” and drill down to Hilco it was no better than Amazon.

    • SimonH says:

      Thanks, very interesting.
      Appalling but unsurprising.

  18. Mr Martin J Power says:

    It is funny in a bleak way as HMV go on doing the same old things in the same old way. They have to have some sort of USP and it just is not thete.

    If they concentrated on what they are good at – When they do special education vinyl for vinyl week etc they are super popular if they created a niche element to it they may come back but currently difficult to see how.

    I don’t agree that they should have separate pricing as people are price savvy and will go for value/price etc – is that not part of the reason we all love SDE? Yes to celebrate the community of music but also a deal. Come on if you could buy the Hendrix box for £100 in HMV or £90 at Amazon we would not go with Amazon even though in many ways they are the great Satan. In some ways this is self defeating as without competition surely Amazon will adjust prices upwards – ultimately a shame but inevitable

  19. Chris Bennett says:

    Sadly the handful of HMV stores we had here in Hong Kong all closed down a couple of days before Christmas because of the sky-high rents here. They first opened up here 25 years ago. I’ll certainly miss browsing the stores. They had in recent years started selling second-hand vinyl and audio equipment which was a great addition to the usual new vinyl, CD’s, DVD’s etc.

  20. -SG- says:

    Well in Berkely, Amoeba closed the Jazz and Classical wing last year to open up a pot dispensary in order to keep the business viable, meanwhile Amoeba Hollywood sold their land and are there for the duration of their lease and then… perhaps longer, but who knows, I speculate after something like $34 million dollars paid, the owner will raise the cost substantially and the fabled record collector’s mecca will shutter the loacation.
    Like before the last recession, businesses like HMV began to fold under economic pressure from rising cost and rent, and now, again these things are happening. The dip in discretionary spending is the canary in the coal mine….

    • EK says:

      -SG-, so sad to hear about Amoeba’s decline. I visited the Berkeley store multiple times a week when I lived there over a decade ago. Good times indeed.

      I have warmed a bit (if that’s the right word) to the new online reality. My weekly ritual is now to check in with all of my bookmarked reissue specialists: Rhino, Cherry Red, Demon/Edsel, Real Gone, Light in the Attic, Omnivore, Soul Jazz, Sundazed, a few others. These labels aren’t going away, as they have managed profits via the vinyl resurgence and keeping inventory limited to 1000-5000 (or so) press runs.

      • -SG- says:

        Right, and the only real way to get the limited material now is online, the distribution channels make it virtually impossible financially for a store. I imagine your collection has become more specific due to your online ritual, but the surprise element is lost. In the day places like Amoeba were great, they still are, but it is different, things are priced globally, barcodes are scanned etc, collectors sell online, the haul one could amass in one visit, has definitely tempered by waning supply, not just at Amoeba, but in general by people frequenting stores less items produced, no unique promos etc. Online is great, you can find anything for a price, if it exists, but there really is nothing like going through a freshly laid stack of vinyl, cd’s etc and finding a treasure for a couple of dollars. But on the flipside I am not 22 anymore and spending a saturday going from record shop to record shop is simply not a reality I could get away with anymore, so the online thing does help to keep the dream alive.

  21. Albert says:

    Vibes Records in Bury was the best record shop in the world…

    HMV was also good in its prime. I remember they had a massive 12′ singles offer in 1985. Every 12′ for £2.49 each. I came out with about half a dozen New Order, four OMD, and the first three FGTH singles in their various 12′ versions. Good days…

    And streaming is crap….

  22. Zongadude says:

    In answer to Jeremy:
    Don’t know about Rough Trade, but FNAC stores (in France) are also on a bad path. There have been rumours of either closing the shops, or at least closing the music (cds and Lps) and movies (dvds and Blurays) sections.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if in less than one year the dream will be over for FNAC stores too. :(

  23. Michael Sloanes says:

    I love HMV and only buy physical media maybe they should just stick to music but the thing that bugs me the most being a collector is half the stuff on the shop floor re Boxsets especially are dumped on the shelves/floor dented damaged all the Kate Bush cd Boxsets were dented/damaged in one store I recently visited and those horrible security tags with the wire that cuts into the boxes or the wraparound sticky tape that leaves your CD’s and vinyl covered in glue half the vinyl covers are damaged.Sad that they have to do this as I know so much stuff is stolen. I hope they survive but it’s not looking good I don’t want to buy everything on Amazon as their packaging is rubbish and if they get the Monopoly prices will rise.

  24. Alan says:

    I have to wonder how long physical entertainment product – which this blog celebrates – will survive if HMV goes. I don’t see supermarkets stocking CDs for much longer. It should be remembered that EMI once owned HMV (and their predesessor The Gramophone Company before them), so if the record companies don’t rescue it now, they are effectively saying “the physical format is dead”. It’s surely in their interests to save it. We might gloat that it’s an old friend we no longer see, but that old friend might have had a lot more power than we realised. If we really don’t care if it survives – and I was quite surprised to read Paul effectively saying he didn’t – then we might lose far more than a shop we apparently no longer bother with.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Where did I say I don’t care if it survives or not?

    • Disney Mike says:

      If HMV goes, it won’t affect the market for physical media more than .01%. The physical formats do not rely on a single brick-and-morter retailer for their worldwide sales. Almost all sales of physical media are from online retailers.

      There is only one factor in the decline of physical media — streaming services. Why would people pay money for an album, when for the same cost they can have access to millions and millions of songs for a month? It’s just the way of the world now.

      • Julian Hancock says:

        In the UK it was reported, as recently as October I think, that HMV sold more physical music than Amazon. I didn’t get the impression that most of these sales were generated by their website.

      • Dr Volume says:

        Disney Mike where did you see that .01 % figure? According to a Guardian article yesterday some labels are reporting that certain releases have only been pressed on CD to satisfy orders from HMV. The loss of the chain will take a big chunk out of the music industry as a whole, certainly in the UK. How much of that will be replaced by online sales I’m not sure …unless something can be salvaged from HMV or something else emerges in the high street to pick up music retail (streaming hasn’t killed it off yet). Maybe Boots can start selling records again!

    • RJS says:

      “It should be remembered that EMI once owned HMV (and their predesessor The Gramophone Company before them), so if the record companies don’t rescue it now, they are effectively saying “the physical format is dead”.”

      Why would the record companies rescue a failing business? Also worth remembering that no one is going to pump money into a failing company purely for the sentimental reasons you suggest!

    • Chris Squires says:

      Alan, I don’t think ANYONE here is gloating about the demise of HMV. The overall tone seems to be one of sad acceptance. Even those who say they mostly / exclusively use Amazon intimate that they wish it were not so. But economics and lifestyle dictate that Amazon is the better retailer as it gives the customer more of what they need and most of what they want. If only they paid a decent amount of tax they would have even more bases covered.

  25. Paul Deards says:

    HMV could do well if they operated on a level playing field, but the cards are stacked against them. Physical stores are treated much worse for tax than online sites (how much did Amazon pay in corporation tax in 2017? About £5m, based on Uk sales of about £10bn), and the streaming services are running at a loss in order to kill off competition (has any music streaming site made a profit yet?).

    Fascinating to see how this develops. If we lose music on the high street then just watch the Amazon and streaming prices soar.

  26. Nick J says:

    I work on the outskirts of Leeds, so visit HMV’s city centre store there at least twice a week. I was in there again over the weekend, chatting to the staff, and they were as friendly as always, and trying to remain optimistic. I cannot imagine how it must feel, just after Christmas, wondering if you’re about to lose your job, but hopefully the majority of stores will survive.

    Anyway, I can understand a lot of the comments that HMV shot themselves in the foot backing film & TV over music – but only from the benefit of hindsight. When they came out of administration in 2013 the music industry was already suffering thanks to downloads (legal and illegal) whereas film & TV largely wasn’t. Of course they were going to focus on that; it would have been madness to do otherwise. But in the Leeds store at least the music section is still huge. As for pricing, I haven’t seen a single new album in over two years that was cheaper on Amazon than in HMV on the day of release. I’ve seen a lot that were more expensive on Amazon, and I’ve witnessed a few that should be classified as daylight robbery on there – but not with HMV. Certainly Amazon has its place, and it has been great for the hard-to-find imports, etc, but for new material I’ll always go to a shop first, ideally HMV. Aside from anything else, I’ve lost count of the times online purchases come through in less than perfect condition; in a shop, I get to pick and choose.

    So it’s HMV first for me, and I’ll continue spending my money there until their last day of trading – which I dearly hope is a long way off.

  27. Pádraig Collins says:

    On the previous thread, someone spoke about picking something up in HMV, then checking their phone and seeing it was much cheaper on Amazon. But sometimes it went the other way too. I was in Fopp and saw a Big Star box set for a reasonable price, but had it on order from Amazon. I checked on my phone and saw that Amazon had not yet processed the order, so I cancelled it and bought it in Fopp. It was a couple of pounds more expensive, but I wanted to take it home there and then and was happy to pay a couple of quid more to be able to do so.

    • Paul Murphy says:

      Possibly you mean my post about them not price-matching John Lennon ‘Rock & Roll’? The differential on that was £4.99 on Amazon that day, £6.99 in HMV Yeovil, that’s tickling a 30% top-up margin. On bigger ticket items a couple of pounds is more absorbable, but as someone above said, try finding stuff in HMV that doesn’t have either dents in it, or doesn’t come with the guaranteed-to-remove-your-laminate security tag. And as I mentioned in a post Paul chose not to use yesterday, it looks – from the state of the stores – that nobody in the top offices at HMV has ever thought to sound out from music fans as to what would be viable product. If they did, they didn’t listen! The days you had the luxury of presenting your stores as a fait accompli are the shadows of time now. I remember casually asking the manager of HMV Yeovil if he could get me Japanese Blu-Spec CDs in and he looked at me like I was talking Martian through a scuba tube, he’d never heard of them. “They’re mini-LP style” I ventured. “Vinyl’s over there” he nodded, and continued to build the north face of the Complete Poirot Collection Eiger.

  28. Curt Selak says:

    I saw the remark about it being quite easy to click-and-purchase (though I took note of the ones further along observing that one pound isn’t too great a difference) and ought to point out that within the Chicago city limits, there are not any shops surviving that trade in compact discs as shops had done in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, not even in malls. (The branches of Reckless and I think it’s Disc Replay have some new releases on compact disc; the primary shop, Rolling Stone, is just on the other side of Chicago’s border, at least an hour by bus from downtown). Going by what I saw over the last 25 or so years (I’m 52), in order to enjoy any chance of riding things out the shops would have had to be keen to acknowledge that the audio technologies (D/A converters, etc) had matured dramatically since CDs had been introduced and the persons operating the shops would have had to be willing to learn how the computer can best be used to capitalize on the cumulative effect of music having been reissued on CD for years on end or particularly of having been issued after being newly discovered. (One of the things that a shop that closed elsewhere in the United States had in the end to show for what during the late twentieth century had proved something of a gilded era owing to the high retail price of the compact discs was a collection of handwritten logs on which the employees had recorded their customers’ perceived shortcomings day in and day out). That having been said, it is nonetheless quite important to ask oneself if a future in ordering compact discs from home is really all it might seem from today’s standpoint given the ability of at least some of the online retailers to realize short-term business goals through potentially underselling, and otherwise undercutting, competitors who are locally oriented and have usually been around for considerably longer. I understand your remarks mostly mean HMV, but if you weren’t aware up until this point that in Chicago compact discs are well and truly all gone away where the high street is concerned, practically everyone living here who had become accustomed to the physical media in some way obviously is!

  29. Ralph says:

    I’m not sure FOPP should be held up as such a shining beacon. It was built up from its Glasgow market stall beginnings with an aggressive price war policy with the aim of closing down its competitors. Gordon Montgomery overreached himself when he took on the redundant Music Zone chain and his last ditch efforts to hard sell FOPP vouchers to customers knowing he was about to go under were shameful as was his dumping the staff without their final month’s salary.
    These days FOPP differs little from HMV in pricing and it’s range of stock is not as comprehensive as it used to be. I do like the book section though.

  30. Graeme Mason says:

    I spend up to £140 on CD’ s or vinyl every month on average….more if I can sell my old junk on eBay (I call it ‘re investing) and I can say…..apart from record store day when I bought 3 vinyls all of my purchases have been online. So out of approx £1700 per annum I spent about £70 to £80 in a physical store……Times my story by how many are like me out there and that’s how the HMV story has unfolded…

  31. poptones says:

    Agreed about HMV failing to adjust to web competition. There’s a lot of talk about the impossibility for HMV to compete with an online store like Amazon with millions of CDs and vinyls but they waited too long to offer the click and collect option for an online order and they partnered with HubBox only last summer. According to a study conducted by PostNord in 2017, 56% of online shoppers rated delivery choice as the most important factor when deciding whether to make a purchase from an online retailer. Failing to adjust early to customers online habits is just one example of HMV’s blunders.

  32. Derek says:

    I’ll be sorry to see HMV go if that’s what happens. I’ll admit I can rarely be bothered to go into town centres nowadays, but on those rare occasions I’ll pop into HMV, but nowadays I hardly buy anything- not interested in DVD boxsets and struggle to find CDs I’d like to own. If Duran Duran, ABBA or Depeche Mode would release Beatles style boxsets I’d be happy to buy them from somewhere like an HMV- unfortunately none of them can be bothered to do so

    When I do buy physical product its invariably from the artist own website ( or Amazon) not HMV.

  33. Gareth Pugh says:

    Thinking about it (and someone made this point on the original thread of a couple of days ago) for a certain kind of music buyer – and I guess this pretty much includes me – the kind who largely follows a repertoire of favourite artists like my dad follows the fortunes of three football teams (sport being his thing, music was always mine) more than buys brand new music or seeks out much in the way of new bands these days… a lot of my spend over the past 4-5 years has gone to D2C models. Case in point – Erasure have released 3 new studio albums in the past 5 years (plus a live one and an orchestral one). In all cases, I bought these from their official webstore because they offered fan-friendly exclusive editions with either more premium packaging, extra exclusive music content, came bundled with other merchandise that appealed (art prints etc), or combinations of all three. Ditto the last decade’s worth of Howard Jones items. Then there was the PSBs pop-up store for Super – being in London, I visited that. Sure, Amazon didn’t get my quid on any of those occasions, but nor did HMV sadly. It wasn’t a case of who was the best value for money (or cheapest – not, technically, the same thing) but who offered me the best added-value for a band or artist I love and collect. Ironically, I had probably spent more with HMV this year (collecting DM back catalogue vinyl albums, the 4 x Kate Bush boxes because they had a good deal and package better than Amazon) than any in the past decade and they were starting to get into exclusives (including a nice OMD one last Summer) but maybe it was too little too late. To be fair, this ‘die hard long term fan’ mentality is not and probably ought not to be HMV’s main focus, but it’s probably where it lost more of my spend than it might have.

  34. JuzzyB says:

    A lot of slagging here, but I love going into my local HMV and Fopp, and I think the prices are pretty good. New albums on CD usually turn up in the 2 for £15 offer just a few weeks later (instore and online), so I tend to grab them then. Getting the pure points and saving up for store discount would always push my purchase to them rather than Amazon. I will be gutted if Fopp goes especially, as much for the books as the music. It will put the kibosh on my Saturdays out, having a few pints and buying a stack of CDs, Blu-Rays and PBs. I will just be extra pissed with no merch to bring home :(

  35. Darren says:

    My nearest shopping centre, Bromley, has a fantastic branch of Head records I ntil 18 months ago, great stock, brilliant vinyl section, good selection of unusual box sets. I never failed to come out of there without a hole in my bank balance.

    What happened…HMV moved into the Head unit from the High Street and got them kicked out and closed down.

    Now they occupy the site with their bland offerings.

    So not much sympathy from me apart from for the staff.

    • Pádraig Collins says:

      Darren, I loved that Head branch too and went there every time I visited my sister in Bromley. I got so much great stuff there over the years. Do you remember when it was originally in the old Virgin store on the same floor (which is now a clothes shop)? It was huge.

  36. Ejner says:

    Our big music & films stores here in Denmark went down and out years ago. I could spent hours in there looking around. But all of them is gone, expect a few small independent vinyl stores. So I had to learn to buy online, if I still wanted my music and films. And I do still prefer physical media. I haven’t come around to all that streaming stuff….yet. So welcome to the online-only club.

    • Mike Thorn says:

      Ejner – There is a nice little Beer and Vinyl shop in Odense – though possibly only second hand, in my brief visit to Odense and on a Friday afternoon I found it to be very popular.

  37. Richard K says:

    Happy to say HMV (although under totally different ownership I’m sure) seems to be doing a bit better in Japan again after opening a fair few shops specializing in second hand vinyl.

  38. DaveM says:

    Paul, your appraisal of HMV is spot on. The thing that saddens me the most is the potential loss of jobs. I still regularly use HMV and can say that the staff and shops in Doncaster, York, Leeds and Castleford are excellent. They always get new releases on the day and are well stocked, especially Leeds.
    I fear the high street will become full of shabby chic cafes, where you pay through the nose for brunch (everything comes with avocado), have one craft beer and sit at a rickety old school desk whilst some vinyl crackles in the background.
    If HMV goes, the future for me will be sitting in the bored husband’s chair in White Stuff (while it lasts).

  39. Foxee says:

    We have two very large HMV stores in South Wales – Swansea and Cardiff – and they are always very busy and have brilliant ranges of stock. The vinyl sections are always the most popular and the amount of choice is superb. We really cherish their presence on the high street and personally I would shop there before buying online any time. I know many others who say the same. I have to say I don’t recognise much of the comment and sentiment in this thread – perhaps it’s a regional thing – and I genuinely think many people are being far too negative, penny pinching, and really forgetting about quality (streaming? please!) and the pleasure of shopping. We really need to get out and support the high street instead of living in a lonely and isolated world of social media and internet shopping. We should all get up off our arses and get back into shops and reclaim the socialising and pleasure of the physical retail world. People need to shake themselves out of this pathetic virtual world of digital files and thin air – what on earth has happened to the pleasure of holding product in your hands, pouring over the beautiful artwork of an album sleeve, putting a record on and watching it spin on the player????

    HMV is a staple of the high street and we should do everything we can to keep it there. However, I think HMV should get back to being a music store first and foremost, concentrate on the booming vinyl market and start to move away from the steadily declining CD market. I think they should dump the DVD format entirely, stick to Blu-ray and 4k, and probably slim down on their other product lines too.

    If we let this happen to HMV, before too long there will be no more Waterstones or WHSmith because everyone will be reading Kindles and tablets. Imagine that? What a sad depressing world it would be.

    • Kevin Galliford says:

      Very well said Foxee! I’m not into records as we used to call them but I love it when an Artist I love releases abCD issue that they gone to a lot of trouble to make it special for the fans. That is where the desirable purchases I want to make are, not just a boring jewel case issue.

      • Michael says:

        Have to agree there. Still a CD buyer but few things frustrate me more and often stop me buying when something I really want is released in that basic jewel case. Makes me nervy as I start to wonder, will this eventually be expanded? Give me a digipak or gatefold any day. Something more deluxe-ish about them. Probably why I’m so pleased with the Kate Bush reissues.

    • Pádraig Collins says:

      Well said.

      Bookshops will survive as they’ve made a recovery over the past year. People are buying more physical books and fewer download books. I bought a handful of download books, but got zero pleasure from them. In fact, it was a waste of money as I only read two of them.

      I have a bone to pick with Paul, though, in saying the surprise factor is lost from record shops. Well, maybe Paul gets media releases about every new release, but I don’t. I always find something I wasn’t aware of in record shops, especially local Australian releases I would never have come across if the record or CD wasn’t right there in front of me in Red Eye. Even in HMV, when I’m in London, always has something that make me go “Wow, I’ve got to have that”. And Rough Trade is always full of music I didn’t know about. Fopp too, but to a lesser extent.

  40. Matthew McKinnon says:

    Well, I miss the superstore on Oxford Street. It was good for a browse on the way home from work – and occasionally a purchase. And it was, back in the day, pretty well stocked so if you had a voucher to spend and were prepared to go digging, you could find something interesting.

    But that’s it really. The smaller shops are a nightmare: the bare minimum stock, hideous prices, terrible layout.

    As one of apparently a handful of people who still buy ALL their music, buying online – whether from Amazon or from Bleep or Boomkat – is a far far better method. That’s why these shops are dead now. They’re just not as good a service. So I don’t mourn them that much.

  41. Tony O says:

    The download issue has obviously affected a lot of stores who closed down but I feel they could have had it turn into a positive.
    I remember speaking to my dad about 15 years ago and telling him that one day we would not go into a music store and buy cd’s and records but we would go in with our own personal pen drives, walk up to the counter, ask for the latest shakin stevens or some other cracking album, pay the money and plug the pen drive into the til, the music would then be in your possession and you would go home.
    Now whilst i was not completely correct in my ‘dream’ I always thought that a shop like HMV would have developed listening booths with a similar pen drive experience, it would make the experience of buying music more than sitting in your kitchen, eating your cornflakes and downloading the new Ed sheeran lp, it would, in a way, have gone retro with modern music.
    I will always thank HMV for the day i was walking round the oxford street store and they played a song that I loved but did not know, I asked the cashier what it was, she spoke to the manager to find out and I bought suzanne vega’s latest album which started years of enjoyment with that artist.
    I know we all have these stories but I feel that with the right management direction these stores could have been thriving rather than just surviving.

    • Breed7 says:

      Actually, downloading is the format that is REALLY dead. Downloading isn’t what is killing physical media; streaming is what is doing that. Until recently, each of the major formats has enjoyed about 25-35 years of dominance (78 RPM, vinyl, CD), but the “download” era only lasted about a decade as the dominant format. Streaming moved in to kill the download several years ago. Pretty soon you won’t be able to purchase downloads from Apple or Amazon, as they’ll want you to use their streaming services exclusively.

      • Matthew McKinnon says:

        Streaming is the same as listening to the radio was for most people in the 70s and 80s. Those people don’t care especially about ownership.
        Downloads will continue, and definitely through Amazon at least – because there will still be the other people who want to buy a product (even if it’s only a file) and will pay for it. So there will be money to be made for smaller etailers, which as a result Amazon will still pursue.

  42. StevieB says:

    I have two HMV stores and a FOPP within 30 minutes of where I live. HMV should have gone down the FOPP model… smaller more ‘independent’ style stores and stock set up in ‘trendy’ ‘student’ or ‘city centre entertainment’ areas.

    Instead they stuck with large stores in their traditional stalking grounds, high streets and shopping centres. The lesson that befell Virgin, Tower Records and all the rest unheeded.

    The amount of times I continued to GO IN to an HMV and come out with nothing (unlike FOPP) because the stock was SO uninspiring.

    I worked in a fair few record shops including HMV back in the heyday. The chance to have bespoke shops for music buyers seems to have been lost. I’m also lucky enough to have a couple of second hand record shops nearby.

    Pricing was an issue for HMV. Yesterday they were selling the 2013 (?) remaster of the Beatles White Album for £49.99, while the 2018 is selling for £39.99. Online you can get the latter for £34.99.
    A fiver is a significant difference for a lot of people.

    RIP HMV… so many mistakes too many to forgive. Hope my 200,000 pure points I’m unable to redeem buy you a lovely wreath.

    • Guy says:

      I agree that they should have downsized to smaller stores. Virgin and HMV were like that before they opened superstores in the early 80s. They missed the boat when they reorganized five years ago and delayed getting into the online business – especially for international orders which Amazon service well. People WILL seek out physical stores…just not in their millions.

  43. SimonH says:

    Good article in the Observer today by Barbara Ellen (once a music journalist) supportive of cd and vinyl and scathing about the music as a freebie culture we now inhabit including the effect this having on the quality of new music. I won’t post a link, buy the physical paper:)
    To those saying why didn’t HMV do this and that etc. Yes I’m sure there were management failures, but really I wonder whether anything could realistically have been done, if feels like an unstoppable change. For example, remember top spec websites need substantial investment to create them, I doubt that was there.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      HMV had shit loads of money in the 80 and 90s that they could have invested, using it to restructure their business.

      • RJS says:

        But like most bricks and mortar shops and indeed the music industry, they never viewed the Internet as either an opportunity to exploit or a threat. It was just a head in sand carry on as normal approach.

      • Matthew McKinnon says:

        Yeah, but that’s armchair thinking, after the fact. The internet and the normalizing of piracy took absolutely everyone by surprise. HMV couldn’t have seen it coming any more than anyone else.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Yes and no. I was buying CDs online in 1999. Not from HMV though because they didn’t have a website. Can anyone recall when HMV first went online…?

          • SimonH says:

            First bought online from HMV around 2000 I think.
            Let’s be honest the best website in the world probably wouldn’t have saved the physical shops.
            I shall miss them if this is the end and feel quite sad about the whole thing. Here in Bristol FOPP and HMV are decent shops with a good selection. For example I bought the Berlin Blondes reissue on the day of release in HMV, pretty obscure I’d say.
            In the end I’ll be forced online and eventually we’ll all only have the second hand market to buy from.
            I’ve made my choice and have no plans to use streaming or downloads, each to their own but it’s just not for me.

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            I agree that physical shops for HMV are perhaps beyond saving but HMV could have prospered in the online world, maybe with A handful of flagship stores

          • Nigel says:

            I bought my first online purchase from HMV.co.uk in 2002. Admittedly, that was three years after my first online purchases from Streetsonline (owned by Woolworths), Play or Amazon. Look at all the online retailers that have left us …

            The HMV website had significantly cheaper prices compared to their stores (at the time) as they were posted from Guernsey. The changes to VAT for low cost purchases took it’s toll. HMV, like others also offered free post on all orders. It’s now on purchases of over £10, whereas Amazon is £20 for music.

            It’s clear that there are many varied opinions why HMV are in their current situation and what they could/should have done to avert this. Let’s face it, like football programmes, there is a shrinking market for physical media. The internet has had a profound affect on walks of life. I’m sure that many of my (younger) colleagues could just press a button on their iPhones instead of eating and drinking they would!

      • SimonH says:

        Yes but no one was really thinking about investing in websites then we’re they??

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Yes. I was working for a GE business in 1998 and they were massively onto the internet very quickly. Jack Welch, their boss at the time, understood the threat/opportunity and basically made sure the business embraced everything to do with it VERY quickly. I was running the intranet at the time. HMV lacked a Jack Welch with his vision.

  44. Dean says:

    You had a huge HMV on one end of Oxford Street, and an equally huge Virgin at the other. With Sister Ray in Berwick Street (still there, everyone should go), it was a two day event to look at everything.

    HMV have diversified into things that aren’t music – books, clothing, electronics, movies…. it was at that point they became lesser of a business, imo. To accommodate this, and cut costs, that stripped back the stock, and suddenly you weren’t surprised by “finds” any more. Knowledgeable staff filtered away.

    And then there is the one thing they can’t change – people will do anything to save a £1. Online is cheaper, and we all know why this is so. People want that £1 in their pocket. As HMV filled with every more crazy “3 for a hotdog” promotions, it began to feel more like a marketplace that a prestige store.

    It’s sad to see that place I once knew go. It’s not sad to see the modern day store go (except for the people losing their jobs, of course, for which it’s tragic).

    I buy 3-4-5 CD’s each and every week (or thereabouts), but never see a need to go to HMV. I know they won’t have what I want in stock anyway (I’m not buying pop/rock for the most part, and certainly not chart). I have no interest in Vinyl. So HMV just isn’t offering what I want. It’s a shame, but once I’ve gone to my local HMV, fought through racks and racks of movies, books, and tat – only to find a shrunken, desolate CD collection….. well, buying online is an easy choice.

  45. John Barleycorn says:

    Paul says about paying a £1 extra for a CD instore compared to online… surely it should be the incentive to sell it for £1 less than the online store? I am probably dreaming… but in the past, when I did check the HMV site, I found it very frustrating to be charged more, sometimes £3-£5 more instore than compared to the HMV website. It’s a match now on the rare occasions I do check it. Let’s not forget that Amazon free delivery only kicks in @ £20 so a single purchase below that incurs a £1.26 charge (? I think). HMV is free over £10.

    Up here in the north west I can think of 4 cities that have significantly downsized their HMV stores in the last couple of years: Liverpool, Manchester (Trafford Centre & city centre), Preston and Chester. And drastically so. Those were pointers to the trend…

    IMHO, and from my perceptions visiting those stores, vinyl sections always seem to have the most people in them, followed by CDs, thirdly DVDs/Blu Rays and tech last (has anyone actually seen anyone buy any of those low grade turntables or portable speakers in HMV? I haven’t).

    I haven’t bought a standard film/telly DVD in years and only buy music documentaries/concerts on Blu Ray (pretty niche I admit). I do buy CDs in HMV after a good browse but even I can see I am a dying breed judged by the drop off in CD sales and lack of queues instore even at Christmas.

    HMV’s stores follow a pattern of navigating thru the DVD boxsets of The Two Ronnies, Only Fools & Horses, Porridge et al. Surely everyone who wants these has bought them already!! Put the music front and centre and make that their priority with the rest at the back and downsize again if need be. I think that’s the only way to go.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      Yes, that was a bad policy when they charged less online (due to the then Channel Island VAT loophole?) as it was actually disappointing to get an HMV voucher knowing I was locked in to more expensive store prices. A key event that drove me to amazon who I actually try to avoid now was when I was looking for a DVD and was willing to paya pretty normal £12 or so for it. HMV price: £19.99. That seemed ridiculous. Amazon were selling the same thing for £4.99. HMV’s prices did improve significantly, at least in my area, when indie era Fopp had two shops nearby. Post Hilco takeover prices were very good, postage online was free for orders a tenner and over. Click and collect became a thing – great if you worked in town. They haven’t been helped by the record industry though with poor quality control and plain poor quality with what seems like a lot of new vinyl and whoever down the chain (distribution, label?) thought the Beatles vinyl prices should be increased by absurd amounts (£34.99 for a single album, anybody?) could perhaps do with a different job. I miss HMV (mine’s already gone) and liked that they got behind vinyl fairly quickly and quite competitively, but I didn’t spend regularly enough there to keep them afloat and as poor quality reissue after poor quality reissue comes out I’m less likely to buy new.

  46. Todd says:

    I don’t count cause my visits are VERY special – but i had a great time a t=year ago when I was there …..

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I’ve always said Hilco are no better or worse than Amazon when it comes to financial matters and tax matters. HMV=good guys Amazon=bad guys is ludicrously simplistic. Two directors at Hilco shared a dividend of £147m in 2014 just after they ‘saved’ HMV. At least with Amazon’s pricing and shenanigans they are always focussing on the customer. That is effectively all they care about. HMV’s problem is they’ve forgotten what their customers want and who they are.

      • peter chrisp says:

        Paul although i am in Australia hope you and family have a great New Year & thanks too for the regular updates. I find with Amazon US their postage to Australia was pretty expensive while their UK counterpart is pretty cheap and on all occasions i would receive a discount automatically. And whether we like it or not with so many stores & independents went down the tube & there are many reasons written above and well thought out comments, i hate to say & which one has survived & thriving Amazon. And look at their CEO Jeff Bozo net worth $118 Billion & counting? Judging by the way they “look” after their staff i guess that’s yet another reason they have survived.

      • Mike the Fish says:

        Wow, yes I remember you picking me up on that, Paul. Mind you, I’ve not seen any articles about how HMV staff have been treated in general but it clearly isn’t as black and white as I would have liked to believe.

  47. Graham says:

    There’s three separate issues here.

    1. The expense of operating on the high street. Rates are still calculated on a notional “rentable value”, which in some places is based on “replace this with housing” to calculate the value, making rates in the SE and other areas ludicrous. Rents are, on the whole, pure greed from the landlords, and likely to crash soon, now that even the restaurant industry cannot afford them.

    2. The rise of online. The death of the High Street was, for me, signalled when I found out you can sell shoes online. Footwear is the ultimate in “customer service” retail. If that can move online, the whole High Street is doomed.

    3. HMV itself. In the last 20 years, I’ve visited HMVs regularly, though less so over the last five as the nearest one closed. I’ve increasingly rarely bought anything, and that mainly DVDs. These days, most of my spend is through Burning Shed. They carry more that I’m interested in than HMV do, and far less that I’m not interested in. Conceivably HMV could compete with online on the product they do carry, but they can’t possibly compete with the array of specialist online retailers who carry stock that HMV cannot.

    I can’t see this as a sign of the death of physical music. That’s already moved on beyond the mega-store.

    • Phil Cohen says:

      Burning Shed has its own shortcomings: Shipping charges that are higher than Amazon, and they charge your credit card immediately upon ordering (Amazon doesn’t charge until dispatch). Still, I may have to go to Burning Shed (or to the website of Cherry Red music) to obtain future releases on the Esoteric label, thanks to Amazon.co.uk’s recent ban on allowing U.S.A. customers to order upcoming Esoteric label CD’s.

      • Kevin says:

        I like Burning Shed for a couple of reasons: they pack really well and they have excellent customer service. Most of the things that are U.K. releases don’t cost much more than Amazon.com and I don’t have to return five damaged copies to get a decent one. Plus, supporting a well run small business is way better than giving a behemoth like Amazon my money.

  48. Kevin Clingham says:

    Hi Paul, Thanks for the article and stirring (sometimes) interesting debate. It does seem that the shop/search/discovery experience that we music lovers enjoy is diminishing by the week. While I appreciate you have an international audience is there any consideration given to publishing a list of CD/Vinyl fairs across the UK.

    I’m a subscriber to the Record Fairs News letter (recordfairsuk.co.uk) and receive a weekly email about up and coming fairs usually for the following weekend. Could also be helpful for visitors to the UK to know what’s happening and where.

    A little bit more publicity for our passion wouldn’t go amiss.

  49. Jeremy says:

    Is Rough Trade in receivership? Is FNAC in receivership? Is Amoeba in receivership? So why is HMV in receivership? It’s got to be a major management failure. The only hope I see is that someone now buys the HMV name and logo and reinvents it as a more serious, more specialized, more dedicated music store. Start with one good store in London and work from there. Pretend it’s 1921. It’s called reinventing the wheel.

  50. Andrew M says:

    Everyone keeps saying that music is relegated to a poor second in HMV but that simply isn’t my personal experience in my local store HMV Chapelfield.

    Music dominates the store and at least a third of the store is vinyl. Massive selection.

    They have open turntable sessions once a month where customers can take over the decks and play whatever they want as a guest DJ slot.

    We have no decent new independent shops in Norwich, but some excellent second hand ones.

  51. Kid992 says:

    The thing I don’t understand about HMV(much like other retailers in their situation) is why they never seemed to learn from previous mistakes. When they went into administration the first time they had several problems. The first being they had a poor web site. Their website was difficult to navigate, they would frequently have good deals that were difficult to find on their website. Often I only knew about these deals because a link was posted on hotdeals.com. Their reward scheme was poor despite spending hundreds of pounds on their site I never had enough points to get anything other than a poster or entry to a “draw”. The points eventually expired as did a voucher I was given for them that could not be spent on line. There was no cash back. They set up a download site and never opened it. So they never got into streaming either.

    They correctly saw the decline in physical music because of streaming and got into DVD. However they did not see that DVD would go the same way. They did not seem to realise that with the decline of most formats it’s gradual and then falls off a cliff as has happened with DVD’s this Christmas.

    They have failed to make the most of the opportunities they had. When they went into administration the first time they were the only chain left, that should have been an opportunity. There was a lot of goodwill from the public and the industry, that has been squandered.The obvious product that has not been decimated by digital is books, there are book shops everywhere and there are 1000’s of book about music. Fopp is full of books. While you can stream SDE box sets you cannot access the 5.1 mixes so SDE retail must be a good bet. Furthermore you need specialist h fi to make the most of them and hi fi is a thriving sector dominated by independents, who sell very expensive stuff. Why not return to their roots and sell the hi fi as well.

    Close the big HMV’s and open more Fopps in places where they don’t have a decent recordshop, a decent book shop or a decent hi fi shop and sort the website out!

  52. David Crozier says:

    The High Street is dead. RIP The High Street. Successive governments have failed to tax online retailers properly, hence Amazon can afford to sell items for significantly less because they (quite legally) aren’t paying any tax. HMV is. Who’s going to buy a CD for £12.99 at HMV if it’s under a tenner at Amazon? And you don’t have to pay to park the car. If councils and governments had addressed this problem when it was first pointed out to them, the High Street wouldn’t be in this mess. But they didn’t, so it is. No one needs the High Street any more. The High Street is dead. RIP The High Street.

  53. Darren says:

    Call me foolish or stupid but I’m buying CD’s and box sets at a rate of knots at the moment as I see them as an investment. Just purchased 13 Springsteen Cd’s on eBay including Ties that bind for a little over £70 in total. I live vinyl but CD’s are ridiculously cheap second hand these days.

    Streaming is fine but albums disappear (New Order deluxe sets) when someone objects to copyright or agreement for licensing comes to an end.

    HMV will be a great loss if it disappears but having three teenagers in my house I know the way they consume media and it doesn’t involve buying anything physical. Whenever I go into a store it’s full of blokes my age (nearly 50). Maybe they need to tap into their core demographic and stop churning out the same dire 2 for £10 offerings. The way they retail vinyl is disgraceful, so many sleeves are damaged, shrink wrap torn off, bent sleeves where they have crammed so many items into a shelf.

    Just my thoughts. I feel for the great staff.

    • Andy Haines says:

      I’d agree with you on that one. The fact that the nearest HMV store is 20 miles away I’ve got to know of the item I want is available to buy or I’ve wasted time, fuel and parking charges to get it. So that £9.99 purchase turns into a £15 purchase when you factor that in. You have no idea of the condition of the vinyl copy they have in either. As you pointed out the general condition and the way they are displayed is poor. I also visited the Blackpool store and bought an album on vinyl there and the member of staff who served me had very bad BO and his nails were filthy. If the staff have no pride in their own appearance they aren’t going to have any for the company, stock or customer care! As for the reward points, you had to have hundreds of thousands for the exclusive items of which were beyond the average purchaser. I used the online site a lot, but things always seemed to arrive unsealed which meant anything collectable lost value almost immediately. It’s a shame, but it needed to rethink after the first bankruptcy and the only thing it did was close stores which further isolated it from the buying public.

  54. MusicFan says:

    Today my local HMV was a busy as usual with no evidence of any business in trouble.

    As we all know for years Amazon was a lot cheaper than HMV. In recent times many of us know of Amazon and HMV prices being the same, however today I did some spot checks on key products only to find in all cases HMV was cheaper than Amazon (on non-sale items).

    The problem is that most people will still assume Amazon is cheaper on everything however the reality is a lot different yet it can take forever for the public to change it’s perception.

    If we lose HMV then Amazon will have no competition and prices may soar.

    Already we are seeing vinyl albums set at £30 whereas a couple of years ago vinyl albums were always around £12.99 to £14.99

    As a collector we should demand value for money!

    • -SG- says:

      The loss leader factor of Amazon is a long term strategy to dominate the marketplace. Bankrupt the competition. Industry wise, the removal of all physical media is the endgame. With all digital media reaching the threshold of commercial grade fidelity in video and audio, there is no place to go. Streaming makes it possible to continue making money from old rope. No manufacturing, no returns, no product that can be sold used, or discounted independently. Prices become fixed, no competition, and the price is $15 if you want to wach an old movie like Marry Poppins with your family.

      • Cornelius says:

        HMV were ruthless in putting other High Street music shops out of business. They wanted to dominate the UK music retail space. What goes around comes around, only it’s HMV at the other end this time, with Amazon being the prime force.

    • Rashers says:

      HMV closed in Ireland in 2013, reopened under Hilco and closed again in 2016. Some locations reopened as Head music stores, which closed down last year. The collapse of DVD / BluRay / CD purchasing then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as there is hardly anywhere left in Ireland to casually buy a music or video disc. Forget about ever impulsively buying a UHD Blu-ray. I find Amazon UK extremely expensive for vinyl (proven by Paul’s price comparison), and record company avarice will eventually kill off the vinyl revolution. I have quite a few records that I bought a decade or so ago – still with price labels – Amazon are selling the same LPs for 50% more. Interestingly, I was in a FNAC in Paris recently and they were selling a huge number of popular records (mostly CD on vinyl) for €10. It reminded me of 1994, when vinyl was being sold off.

    • Eric says:

      Completely agree with @MusicFan; so much of the discussion everywhere on this is based on false perceptions and outdated prejudices.

      Same with what will happen next, price-wise (even the breadth of titles easily available) if HMV disappear. We’ve seen the supermarkets destroy the bricks & mortar stores with aggressive pricing, then as soon as those went to the wall, they put their prices up and cut back on their stock. The music sections of Sainsburys and Tesco nowadays are an insult to the customer and a kick in the teeth to those of us who remember their tactics in the 00s to finish off the music retailer specialists.

      Amazon will do the same. With no competition, nobody to price-match, no need to stock as much as HMV try to, things will be very different, and worse, for fans of physical media.

      EG.

  55. TRACY says:

    I love to shop at HMV online, mainly for blu-rays and I hope this will continue to operate.
    I went into HMV the other day and I don’t like it very much. Messy layout and hard to find the section you are looking for and a lot of times they don’t have the item you are looking for. Too much emphasis on merchandise and not enough music or blu-rays/DVDs. I ended up not buying anything and walked out thinking I will look online instead. The only time I really enjoyed shopping in HMV was in the 1980s/1990s and then you could find change on the floor dropped by customers which made it even better! I find my local HMV a bit depressing really. Having said all that I do want it to continue, especially online, as they have exclusives and limited edtions.

    • Stan Butler says:

      I’ve pre-ordered the four New Order 12″ singles bundle that is out in March, from HMV.com. Works put at £8.50 per disc. All unavailable on Amazon at the moment. Hopefully they will still be trading by then.

  56. Mad Earwig says:

    Interesting reading everyone’s experiences on here with everyone blaming downloading or the shopping experience.

    I work in the audio industry and see first hand the sales decline of affordable and/or decent audio products as the world moves away from quality and into quantity.

    I guess many of you have either bought some of the millions of Sonos products and are one of the 80 million subscribers of Spotify or use iTunes?

    I blame this for the terminal decline of CD sales.

    While convenient and affordable and in the case of a Sonos, (very clever) it nevertheless renders buying CD’s a bit pointless as most of you do not want to hear it through a good stereo but want ‘background music’ while doing something else!

    Each to their own, but ultimately we are all responsible for the way the industry has gone. I prefer a steak to a hamburger, a photograph to a jpeg and a decent sound to an mp3, this is just my choice.

    • Eric Weinraub says:

      For the better part of 3.5 decades, music has been vastly overpriced at the point of sale. Had the music companies not charged for records, CDs, and other formats, which took the reverse approach as the current consumer, not charged the absolute highest price possible we likely would not be having this discussion. EVERYTHING was predicated on greed…and frankly still is. Watch what’s happening with vinyl right now and you know that no one learned a thing from the last time as once again prices are climbing because its about squeezing every dime out of the consumer.

    • Nigel says:

      I agree with your comments, but wanted to counter that I use Spotify to vet new releases and new artists music.

      This process has led to me not wasting money while also adding new artists (this would have been unlikely before) to my collection. As I appreciate good sound, I normally buy both CD and vinyl formats.

      Nigel

  57. Rik Skyline says:

    Terrible news. HMV is a British institution. And now we’ll get to see Amazon take over the world. They sell pretty much everything.

  58. David Bartolini says:

    I sure hope that HMV will survive. I live in the States and I was in the UK twice this year and going to HMV on Oxford Street in London is a must & literally the first place I visit when I arrive! Sure we have Amazon for fast, easy online ordering & large selection .. but nothing beats the brick & mortar experience for me. Record shopping (CD’s & Vinyl) is rite of passage and needs to be sustained! If anyone is in the Los Angeles area you must check out Amoeba Music in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip as it is probably the best Independent record store in the world. I hope that the HMV store on Oxford Street survives I will be very sad to see it go.

    • Paul Jacob says:

      I was in the US this year (San Fransisco and Los Angeles). These cities have, as you correctly state, what is probably one of the best selection of DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs and Vinyl in the US through the aforementioned Amoeba stores. I love them. In NYC, I found it difficult to find any brick and mortor stores which sell physical media, other than Barnes & Noble, whose prices though are astronomical. They also appear to be in trouble.
      At least in tbe UK HMV and Fopp are /have been competitively priced. I would be devasted if Fopp wrre to go. I hope that chain at least can be sold, as I believe it could survive independently. Anytime I am in there it is busy and pŕople are buying stuff as opposed to just browsing. Surely in a city the size of London a physical media store can not only survive, but thrive?

  59. Andreas says:

    Hi – sorry if this seems inappropriate, but we all gotta move on I suppose.
    Just started buying vinyl thinks to prerecording all Sylvian re-releases, and was wondering, beyond the amazons, what sites are recommended for buying off. I’m based in NZ.

  60. Branny says:

    It’s sad. Obviously streaming has a lot to answer for and when it comes to movies I’m guilty as charged. I used to buy movies on vhs and then dvd over the years. Most of my favourites wbich have frequent repeat viewing have been purchased on blu ray but the days of buying a movie that i will only watch once have stopped. I can stream them 3 months after release for less than the price of the physical format.

    When it comes to music, I have an Apple music account but very rarely use it. My format of choice is still cd. I started with vinyl and used to spend a fortune on 12″ singles. I haven’t bought into the vinyl revival because from the value for money aspect. I won’t pay up to four times the amount it costs to buy the cd and at the rate I buy I’d soon be struggling for space.

    Advances in technology have hurt the industry in other ways. With the advent of cds, vinyl disappeared. Not just albums but 7″ and 12″ singles. Some releases brought out as many as three 12″ singles of a release. Then cassette and cd singles vanished. Mp3 meant the end of pretty much all blank formats. I know there’s other shorter lived formats that came and went such as the minidisc but obviously didn’t have as big an impact. It’s easy to blame it all on streaming but the industry has been cutting its own revenue streams and eroding its foundation s since the 80s. Other chain stores have bitten the dust. It was only a matter of time before Hmv went the same way.

    I’ll miss the browsing. Sometimes I’d go in to buy something specific but often I’d just browse and eventually something would catch my eye. I have bought the odd purchase from Amazon but only if I haven’t been able to get it from Hmv. I have never had a problem with purchases from them and if that’s the way I have to go so be it but all things being equal I’d rather spend half an hour and an extra couple of quid in a record store. It’s how I’ve done it for the last 40 years.

    • peter chrisp says:

      There’s a couple of points that are quite interesting unsure how many years HMV have been around, but judging by a number of people over 30 years? I remember one of the biggest stores, can’t recall how many were around at the time & they were huge too “Tower Records” then it went down the toilet in 2006. As you say all music is now at our fingertips & that makes it so easy for the consumer there are so many choices but the physical copy is to me still the best, and we all know that Amazon have virtually taken over the world, and we look at their CEO can’t pronounce his name Jeff Bozo worth around $160 billion need i say anymore. I remember having a holiday in Japan last year & due next year can’t wait & visited their Tower Records 9 floors of music spent 3hours amazing too

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        HMV have been around for 97 years!! In other words they had a near 80-year start on Amazon, were experts in their field and were caught napping, badly on an number of occasions. 1997 – when I first got online – is only 10 years from 1987 – and at that point HMV were making money hand over fist. They could have invested that cash in being online pioneers, but like many retailers they just failed, badly, to see the threat of digital.

  61. smorrissey says:

    I know it’s over – still I cling
    I don’t know where else I can go
    Over and over and over and over
    Over and over, la…

  62. Gavin says:

    Any update on the pure points system yet ? Shame to lose them

  63. Bart says:

    Well i dont have good or any music stores around me. Yes i had 3 stores with cds and cassettes about 20 km away but they were closed long time ago ( perhaps 2004-2006). Of course piracy/ online downloading killed IT. Yeah i kinda miss 90s…

  64. Ian McJannet says:

    Hi Paul, very sad about H.M.V. as I too grew up with them….
    Shame though that you haven’t alerted people about the demise of ‘Soundstage Direct’
    I contacted you three times asking about it when I lost $160 on the new ‘Bridge over
    troubled water’ One step issue from Mobile Fidelity.. A record I desperately wanted and those sods at Soundstage took my money and ran….. NO record and NO refund…
    and up to a couple of weeks ago they were still up and selling on line….

  65. Cosmo Castanza says:

    When I went in the shop back in the 80’s and 90’s there would be bargain bins giving ex chart or early issues of singles for peanuts , and they would include new unknown bands.

    In this century they became sterile modern stores with only the same blockbusters available , little different from supermarkets .

    In addition those who live by the sword die by the sword.
    HMV wiped out the 3 local record stores in my home town in the 80’s ……..the internet has done the same to them.
    I am still sadder at the lose of those stores rather than this franchise.

  66. Alan Hawker says:

    It’s funny you mention Two Tribes and Last Christmas, because 1984 was the year I probably spent the most money in HMV. Buying loads of 12″ singles, all the Bowie albums, albums by most of the big artists of the day. Around 84 the Virgin store in Cardiff closed down and so there was only HMV and Spillers in the City centre, I would hop between the two to find the best prices, ironically HMV usually won out in those days. As the 80s went on I went to Cardiff less and less usually just going to Woolworths in Barry for my music as it was just more convenient, but if I wanted anything out of the mainstream, it was usually a trip to HMV. In the 90s Virgin opened a new megastore in Cardiff, just down from HMV, and when I went into Cardiff, I would hop between them for the best deals. Slowly music seemed to be relegated to the back with videos/DVDS taking over, then before I moved to Canada, I would occasionally pop into HMV, I think the last time was to get the majority of my Beatles remasters in 2009, as I had gift cards to pay for a good portion of them. By then most of my music shopping was online, but I did go to get them. I could never be a Streaming/Download person, I need the physical product.

  67. Jeff D says:

    Yeah here in the States, almost all of the major chains are long gone. Luckily, there are several really good independent record stores near me. But, I do miss the good old days, pre-internet, where I would walk into a store and go “oh my god!!! So and so has a new album out!!!!”

  68. angus young says:

    many many moons ago HMV was the place to go and even the staff “knew their music” adn probably loved .maybe even honoured to be working for such an establishment …but today asking the staff about an artist or music or even where the album is ?, i always got the impression they were just guessing !….

    its a cold dark enviroment now with “strangers” dealing with the friendly music lover

  69. Macca says:

    I was in HMV before xmas and it was not a pleasant experience. Poorly stocked CD section. Had none of the CDs I was looking for. Left after 10 minutes never to return probably.

  70. Jeff D says:

    Yeah here in the States, more or less all of the big music chains are gone…..thank goodness there are several really good independent stores near me. But I still miss the good old days, pre-internet, when I would walk into a store and would go “oh my god, so and so have a brand new slbum out!!!!”

  71. Dave says:

    Unfortunately . It has to be said every dog has its day !

  72. poptones says:

    Excellent post Paul. I agree price isn’t necessarely a big factor. In your previous post yesterday about HMV, I compared HMV with french equivalent FNAC and they’re doing better and made changes to adapt. 3 weeks ago I was shopping in Central London and went to HMV on Oxford Street and then went to Soho and visited Sister Ray, Reckless, Phonica and ended the day with Rough Trade East as they close at 8 PM, which was very convenient for me. As some posters already mentioned, the shopping experience isn’t very exciting for music lovers. If I compare HMV Oxford Street with the FNAC des Ternes in Paris, about half a mile away from the Champs-Elysees, the latter is a far better choice for shopping. You have 5 levels at this Fnac store, when you enter the store and go downstairs you can shop tv, hifi, computers, software, usb and hard drives, tablets, you have Samsung and Apple sections. On the ground floor, you have tech, wireless, urban related products on one side (mostly headphones, cameras, mobile phones, electric scooters, etc.) and on the other side you have services and help (concert tickets, travel agency, fnac credit cards, etc.). On the first floor, you’ll find almost only cash desks (plenty of them, up to 15, including 3 dedicated for customers with a Fnac+ card). The second floor is divided in 4 sections : two for music (one for pop/rock/electronic and the other for classic and world music), one for dvd and blu-ray and one for video games. More importantly you have 6 desks on that floor and these aren’t cash desks, on each you’ll find sales staff with a computer. You can ask whatever you want or need anf they’ll tell you if it’s released yet, if they have it or they will order it for you if you want. Whenever I visit this Fnac, staff is busy talking to customers, at HMV staff is busy stacking up shelves or running to the cash desk (as they do both tasks). It’s quite a big difference because at Fnac it’s not the same people. Sale staff is dedicated to a particular section. A person from the music section can’t work on the movies/series area. About the music section, vinyl represent almost half of the shelves, it’s a pretty big section and you don’t have to bend to pickup a LP. Eveything is well presented in an accessible way. You have shelves dedicated for discounted items and special prices. It’s pretty common to find LPs priced 10€. For examples the La’s or Stone Roses first LP is curently priced 10€. On the 3rd floor, you’ll find only books (and staff to advise and guide you if you need assistance) and the 4th floor is for children.

    The shopping experience is much more enjoyable at Fnac. And when it comes to prices, Amazon FR often have to match and sometimes they don’t. For example, for Black Friday, almost all movies and series box sets were availablle with a 50% discount. It was crazy. For vinyl, you could buy 2 and get the third at 50%.

    Frankly HMV shouldn’t be struggling like that. Just like Fnac, they should have adjusted to the market and the way people shop (late opening hours, more sales staff, special offers, discounts, customer service, credit cards, possibility to sit, drink and have coffee at some fnac stores, etc.).

  73. Kevin Galliford says:

    Ps- I live abroad so don’t really get to go to HMV much but whenever I go to the UK I always make a point of going. I went to the HMV at the Regent St end of Oxford St last Easter & that was disappointing, same as the Cardiff branch which moved to smaller premises .When you can’t find what you want or have an unsatisfactory experience, what are you going to do? We know the answer & the music industry & the High have changed for ever.

  74. Jamie says:

    Sadly we live in a generation when people can’t be bothered to get off the sofa to turn the lights on, never mind go out & visit the shops. They’ve also been conditioned (by Amazon) to think that they’re always cheapest, which simply isn’t the case. I haven’t shopped with Amazon for years, their policy has always been throw money at it & buy everyone out, using the tax that they don’t pay in the U.K. or elsewhere come to that. Reality is that an online retail environment with no physical shops paying rent, rates, wages etc is not good for our economy & if our government continues to sit on their hands & hope for the best we’ll all be buying from a warehouse somewhere paying minimum wage and barely any tax.
    Personally I have 4 HMV’s within an hour of me & ive shopped & bought from them all in the last few months. I don’t stream as I don’t agree with the pittance that the artists get paid, as for Spotify that’s a company with an unsustainable business model & it’s only because the record companies prop it up that it’s still going. You can’t run a business on a multi million overdraft for ever.
    I think with tweaks an hmv type business can thrive, whether they will be able to survive in order to make them is another story. It will be a sad day for me if they can’t.

    • ian says:

      Jamie, you have said exactly everything I would say………..spot on, I spend around £50 a month or more in my local branch ( 10 minute walk from home) I would be lost without it. ( cant see sainsburys selling kate bush boxsets somehow.!

    • SimonH says:

      Totally agree.
      For me I do buy online for more obscure stuff, however I try to buy most new releases in either HMV or Rough Trade here in Bristol. The HMV is pretty good, they stock obscure stuff like the recent Cherry Red Berlin Blondes reissue which is pretty good going. Contrary to Paul’s comment I have had the ‘surprise factor’ as well, finding the recent Cousteau cd there without knowing they had a new album out.
      I’ve known for a long time that the clock was ticking on my Friday lunchtime experience, but it’s still a sad time for me.
      The reality is I’m not sure they could have done anything. Maybe smaller stores with cafes, sofas etc, just ask Rough Trade it seems to work for the, but with higher prices.
      I know I’m pretty much a dinosaur but at this point in my life I’m sticking to CDs even if eventually I’ll just be buying from the second hand market. So be it. Streaming just isn’t for me, sometimes you have to accept you’re not going to be joining the herd, once you do accept that, it can be fun adapting to a new environment!
      The role/importance of music in society is changing, possibly not for the better, we can’t stop that.

  75. Chris Squires says:

    Whilst I lament the loss of HMV and eulogize the experiences of my teenage self crawling around various Birmingham Record Shops (Oasis, Cyclops, Swordfish, Plastic Factory, 2 HMVs, Reddingtons, Virgin, Tower and so on). I have to mention something that many of us might have noticed. Particularly from my hours and hours of sifting through record fair LPs.

    a) My back bloody well hurts. Even when the shelves are at waist level and don’t involve getting on my hands and knees (very inelegant and undignified, particularly on the way back up), I can feel the ache as I reach to the back of the rack.
    b) My eyesight is shite. I need three pairs of glasses these days (51) and shops that put certain shelves with the records stacked side on are impossible to read. I couldn’t even find my copy of Secrets of the Beehive in my own racking the other day. Wide spines and box sets are a blessing to the focally challenged.

    It’s possibly why I remember my 1980s so fondly. I was, fit, thin and I could see.

    • Spiral Scar says:

      Ha! Chris…
      You could be my clone! 52 now, two sets of glasses. Fit enough I suppose, but could always improve. I was in Princeton (New Jersey) at the Princeton Music Exchange this Friday. Great fantastic store for dirt-cheap used and new, but so packed with merchandise that nearly every inch of the store is filled. Turnover is swift, so you could go there every week and grab amazing finds. Smart buyers for the new releases. I’m a serious record buyer, but I could not bring myself to lower myself to the floor to flip through the thousands of $1.00 LPs… this time. Maybe next month. Just the same, I spent $300.oo there and then on to Vintage Vinyl in nearby Fords, NJ. Closest thing to a Tower Records I have now, except they are far more eclectic. Mostly sealed, new stock. I bought a Bauhaus ep that I didn’t know was released this year called ‘The Bela Session.” That’s the kind of store it is, but you can buy more conventional stuff too. Big record section too and I grabbed a title or two. (Both stores stocked the Kate Bush box sets, for example.) Spent another hundred bucks there. Didn’t have to get on my knees with my ass in the air, though (not until I dropped my keys in the parking lot in the dark.)
      Anyway, These are the only stores I visit to buy physical product aside from a great little shop near my home (Gerosa records in Brookfield, CT) and I make it an event to shop there. It’s about 240 miles round trip and I’ll spend anywhere from $200-$500 between the two stores. It takes all day to comb through the inventory, and I have to skip sections or run out of time. I don’t even bother to eat until I’m done, usually after the second store closes.
      I used to go to NYC for Tower and Disc-O-Mat and St. Marks Sound and several other hole-in-the-wall shops but they are all gone now. I completely skip New York now, incredible as it seems. But these two New Jersey stores and my home store are the only places I can get my shopping fix properly. Online is fine if I come up empty handed, but I don’t make that trip every two weeks, so I am guilty of online shopping. I need to hold the CD or LP in my hands. That certainly prompts the decision to buy or not buy. I would have spent less than half of what I did this time if not for all the great music that I found that I didn’t expect to find. The staff in these places are there because they are music people. They know their shit, and I’ve bought many things that I heard for the first time playing while I shopped. Kinda like the old days. I love to experiment, and sometimes an impulse buy in a good store will lead to an all-time favorite artist, like how just five years ago a cheap BMG cd compilation of Japan for $1.99 led me to dive all the way in. I have more Japan/Sylvian/Karn/Rain Tree Crow/Dolphin Brothers/Sakamoto/Nine Horses/Fripp, etc. – stemming from that single unplanned purchase – than most people’s entire music collection. Not to boast, anyone can spend money and I’m merely a consumer, but I still get passionate, and the shopping experience makes that happen. And I love finding the music a little at a time. It took five years to accumulate all that Japan-related stuff (admittedly, much of it bought online because a lot of it is original pressings and out-of-print.) But that gave me five years to absorb it, a little at a time. Online can be a little too “instant gratification-esque” much of the time. Twenty albums at once? Stockpiling MP3s? Fine. But without any effort on my part, it dilutes the experience and stuff never gets played twice, or even once. Making the effort to get off my ass (arse, to you) to get to the shops and spend the time hunting and discovering and deciding, is what I love. It absolutely is a vital part of being a music lover. It’s a bonus to get into conversation with other music geeks shopping there too, and share or even learn something (!) I guess it’s like being in the stadium to watch a football game played in front of you. You could watch at home or on your phone, but nothing beats the real-life experience.
      I suppose computer culture is the culprit, along with a “I want it now and I want it cheap and I don’t want to have to get up” mentality. Your computer or phone will do everything but take a dump for you, and Amazon is working on that (there will be a small charge – hopefully not shipping – but hey! don’t give away your power!) and after all, I’m on my computer right now, but I’m about to walk out the door and do something outside of these walls. I refuse to give in and make my world revolve around this device. (No offense to you Paul. I love your site and check it every day, despite my snotty, weirdly hypocritical attitude about computers!) Whatever it is, interact with and support the real world when you can. Before you have no choice in the matter.

      R.I.P. Pete Shelley

  76. daveid76 says:

    Paul do you know if this will mean Fopp will also close? I think HMV owns them.

    • Auntie Sabrina says:

      HMV do own Fopp so the answers probably yes.

    • Cornelius says:

      I hope Fopp doesn’t close. Briefly we had a branch near us in Dudley, then the chain folded. Now, i look forward to occasionally going into a remaining Fopp store on Earlham Street, London.
      Unlike HMV, Fopp didn’t turned it’s back on comsumers of physical format music, with good prices and stock, but the majority of the specialist chain closed.
      There are young people i know, who are way into music of all kinds, yet they don’t own a single record or cd. They download…etc.
      It’s not a God-given right for big chain music stores to expect a footfall, things have changed. I have Spotify and if i come across something i really like then i’ll also buy it on cd. I like to own what i like musically. HMV have lost me as a customer because their music stock in-store and online, just isn’t good enough. It doesn’t take many fruitless HMV searches for you not to bother in future and go elsewhere.

    • Colin says:

      Yes afraid so daveid76.

      Talks are ongoing to find a new owner, but as things stand, these are the stores at risk of closing their doors for good.

      These are where they are (Including Fopps Stores):

      -Ayr

      -Banbury

      -Basingstoke

      -Belfast

      -Birmingham Bullring

      -Blackpool

      -Bluewater

      -Bradford

      -Brighton

      -Bristol (Fopp)

      -Bristol Broadmead

      -Bromley

      -Boston

      -Burton-on-Trent

      -Bury

      -Bury St Edmunds

      -Cardiff

      -Carlisle

      -Castleford

      -Chelmsford

      -Cheltenham

      -Chester

      -Chichester

      -Colchester

      -Covent Garden (Fopp)

      -Coventry

      -Crawley

      -Croydon

      -Cwmbran

      -Darlington

      -Derby

      -Doncaster

      -Dundee

      -East Kilbride

      -Edinburgh Ocean Terminal

      -Edinburgh (Fopp)

      -Exeter

      -Gateshead

      -Glasgow Argyle Street

      -Glasgow Byres (Fopp)

      -Glasgow Union (Fopp)

      -Gloucester

      -Grimsby

      -Guildford

      -Hanley (Stoke-on-Trent)

      -Harlow

      -Harrogate

      -Hastings

      -Hereford

      -High Wycombe

      -Huddersfield

      -Hull

      -Inverness

      -Ipswich

      -Kettering

      -King’s Lynn

      -Kingston-Upon-Thames

      -Leeds

      -Leicester

      -Lincoln

      -Liverpool LiverpoolOne

      -Livingston

      -Llandudno

      -Maidstone

      -Manchester, Arndale

      -Manchester (Fopp)

      -Manchester Trafford Centre

      -Mansfield

      -Middlesbrough

      -Milton Keynes

      -Newcastle

      -Northampton

      -Norwich Chapelfield

      -Nottingham (Fopp)

      -Nottingham Victoria

      -Nuneaton

      -Oxford

      -Oxford Street, London W1

      -Peterborough

      -Poole

      -Portsmouth Gun Wharf

      -Preston

      -Plymouth

      -Reading

      -Redditch

      -Romford

      -Sheffield High Street

      -Sheffield Meadowhall

      -Shrewsbury

      -Solihull

      -Southend

      -Southport

      -Staines

      -Stevenage

      -Stirling

      -Stockport

      -Sunderland

      -Swansea

      -Swindon

      -Taunton

      -Telford

      -Thanet

      -Thurrock

      -Truro

      -Tunbridge Wells

      -Uxbridge

      -Watford

      -Westfield White City

      -Wimbledon

      -Winchester

      -Wolverhampton

      -Worcester

      -Workington

      -Worthing

      • Paul Gray says:

        You missed Yeovil HMV off the list, the only Record store in my hometown. I now have absolutely no reason to go into town, if you know Yeovil you will know where I’m coming from… I am an old saddo who, despite running out of space, has to have a physical form of music, even if it’s just a CD. The demise of HMV is sad but inevitable, too much space dedicated to DVDs and Blu-rays and not enough focus on music. FOPP used to be my favorite store as they stocked CDs at good prices from all artists and genres. I can recall picking up Joni Mitchell
        Shadows and Light and Miles of Aisles for a fiver each from FOPP in Bath and being stupidly excited! Since their demise from most towns, HMV and Amazon have been my source of music and, unlike many others, I cannot fault Amazon’s customer service and will now have to rely on them for my music purchases. There are a couple of good independent stores within 30 miles of where I live but their prices aren’t that good and it’s not always easy to find what you are looking for…
        Anyway…… Sad times for music lovers who enjoy physically browsing in a store. If any of the excellent, helpful staff in HMV Yeovil are reading this, I hope things work out for you and your jobs can be saved. At the end of the day, we music lovers may have lost a store to visit but real people with bills to pay are likely to lose their jobs. That is the real tragedy.

      • daveid76 says:

        Thanks for that. I just popped into the Covent Garden Fopp and bought a couple of CDS including the deluxe edition of the new Elvis Costello album for only £7. The non-deluxe edition was £8!

        RIP HMV/Fopp

      • Nigel says:

        There has been lots of mis-reporting of this in the press – no surprise there! There are currently 117 HMV stores and nine Fopp stores. There is a planned closure of the Croydon store (24 January 2019) due to the proposed £5 billion Croydon town centre redevelopment (Westfield), so I guess the sometimes reported figure of 125 is sort of right.

  77. Ramon Duccini says:

    Hello! My name is Ramon, I’m from Brazil and a daily SDE reader. I go to London twice a year and every time I go there my first stop is Oxford St’s HMV. Even living This far from England, I’ve been to HMV dozens of times. A huge part of my collection was bought there (buying foreign music in Brazil is só expensive, specially special editions and box sets). When I read yesterday’s post about HMV going into administration I didn’t know what was it all about. Does it mean that HMV will close? “Going into administration” in Brazil means that a company will be ruled by a bank or by someone who doesn’t have nothing to do with The actual business. It is The same in England? I know it maybe hard to believe, but HMV (and Rough Trade, and Amoeba, and Tower, and Disk Union…) is a distant dream for people lime me in Brazil. We do have some stores, but nothing in Brazil comes close to what you have in UK, US and Japan. Happy new year for you, guys!

    • Dr Volume says:

      Ramon it means the business will be temporarily run by an Adminstrator who will aim to keep the stores open for now and try and find a buyer to take over the business. It doesn’t mean HMV is 100% doomed but since this isn’t the first time HMV has been in trouble, it’s not looking good.

  78. yves vandezande says:

    I used to (and still do) travel from Brussels to London on the Eurostar (in earlier times it was the nightboat from Ostend) three times a year to buy music. Prices have always been lower in the UK and the selection was enormous. The Virgin megastore and FOPP were firm favourites but HMV was also visited every time. As were Berwick Street, the Exchange, Spittafield.
    The first time I got into the little Virgin above the shoe shop will be an enduring memory.
    I’ll probably keep my London visits going but the best of times seem to have passed.

  79. Jason says:

    A friend who recently visited Japan said Tower Records and other big stores are still thriving there. Seven floors of every music genre you could think of in one Tokyo store. He asked a salesperson, “How can you do this when it’s failing in the US and now the UK?” The salesperson replied, “The streaming services here ARE the luxury items. You pay more of a premium to use them, so people feel more inclined to buy physical products too.” Isn’t that the way it SHOULD be? Just whipping out your phone and giving money away to cable companies should not be the only business model people who really love the discovery of new music utilize. It is a convenience that should be more expensive in order for the artists to get paid what they are owed if people are so inclined to use them. I’m also not sure how Amazon is able to provide instant downloads of albums purchased when other websites and certainly brick and mortar stores are not able to do this, and that too seems like an unfair playing advantage that makes me even more inclined NOT to use them…What sort of shady business dealings have been done to allow for this to occur? No wonder HMV has been suffering. I’ve been seeing similar problems with Barnes & Noble in the US, as had happened with Tower, Best Buy (no more CDs), Musicland, FYE (a few left), and more.

    As for price sensitivity, I don’t really know. Teenagers seem to be more invested in that when every pound or dollar they have is important. It does seem that most flock to Amazon assuming that is always the best price. While that is frequently the case, it is not ALWAYS the case either, but consumers have been generally lulled into a sense of that being the norm.

  80. Nigel says:

    Whenever I visited my local HMV, I never knew what I was going to find. Invariably I’d be left disappointed. Thus making future visits less likely.

    Records that should have been stocked (because they had just been released) were sometimes nowhere to be seen! The condition of displayed records also left a bad impression. Needless to say, with the ever increasing footprint of DVD/Blu ray/TV box sets I never knew whether HMV was truly invested in the re-emergence of vinyl music and the special box sets that now accompany many of today’s releases.

    Now in comparison to my local HMV was my local Tower Records who incidentally stood true to vinyl, selling the limited choice of vinyl releases through the ’90s. This, and today’s well stocked range of vinyl and CD music (as well as film, books, and music accessories), made it clear which store was serious about music!
    Even today the local Tower store will host the odd in-store performance by artists wanting to promote their latest release.

    As an aside, I will sometimes order from Amazon or E-bay where a record or limited edition is out of print. But in general, unless there is a large price discrepancy between Amazon and my local stores, I will always support my local stores.

    HMV RIP

  81. Mike the Fish says:

    The HMV became disappointing for years as it often seemed to be bulk ordered set discount items rather than a shop specific sale. That said I saw The Hurting deluxe once but didn’t buy it thinking it wouldn’t be worth much once Universal corrected the glitch on the first disc, which they didn’t.

  82. Paul Murphy says:

    As ever, a pertinent and well-reasoned piece Paul. To repeat what I posted yesterday, with figures like the fact House of Fraser’s £4.6m business rates bill for its store on Oxford Street in London was the same as Amazon’s total corporation tax bill in the UK for 2017 the writing is on the boarded-up windows of many a bricks and mortar business now. I would say that, seeing what was happening, HMV could well have trialled some in-store on-the-spot price-matching, on a ‘50% of something is more than 100% of nothing’ basis – I remember earlier this year showing my phone in the Yeovil store that John Lennon’s ‘Rock & Roll’ was £4.99 on Amazon at that moment but they wouldn’t shift on their £6.99 price [even though like most stores they have all kinds of ‘discretionary’ reasons for adjusting ticket price – in many outdoor stores I get 10% as an ex-serviceman for instance]. I wonder if Hilco are still going to stick with Ian Topping – ex-HMV CEO – to turn Homebase around.
    My ‘happy HMV’ moment – finding somewhere warm to spend 5 hours on a bitterly cold February day in 1991 waiting for that night’s Bob Dylan concert at Hammersmith Odeon. [Less happy memories of the concert, as anyone who saw those shows will probably echo!]

  83. Straker says:

    “I disagree with the instore pricing against the internet pricing. If you take the DM first two box sets Amazon is around the £49.00 mark HMV online and instore is around he £57 mark = £16.00 difference.”

    That’s an £8 difference!

    ….

    I was in the Bond Street store just before Xmas buying a DVD that’d vanished online and was getting sky-high prices ( I should know I sold my copy for £150!). HMV reserved stock via email for me and when I got to the store on Saturday they were having a leaflet promotion of £5 off £35 worth so that saved me a fiver over even the very decent price I was already going to be paying. Just goes to show they can triumph over online!!

    HMV in London has never been the same since the barn-like Oxford Circus branch closed. I think I speak for many when I say for lovers of physical media that place was akin to a cathedral. Over the years I lost hundreds of hours in there and spent thousands of pounds. By contrast I never really liked the Bond Street store (the new one, not the old one also now closed) so have only been in a handful of times over the last five years. Seems to be more staff than punters on some days and you get buttonholed almost as soon as you walk through the door by some lanyard-wearing staffer.

    Please keep us updated Paul if you hear of a closing down sale – The one in Oxford Circus in 2013/14 was insane.

  84. Richard Cockerton says:

    The maths don’t work. Much as I love / want / need (?) and wilk continue to buy the physical product rather than digitised bits, HMV is simply the latest victim of our (globally) failing high streets. In the UK, physical music / film product is worth £2 biĺlion (so there’s still hope for the indies out there) but HMV are paying £15 million in business rates, a figure straight off the net operating margin. Until we fix this, bricks & mortar shops will continue to suffer against the on line retailers who are (tax) exiles on main street.

  85. Alan gray says:

    It is a very sad day indeed
    Over the years we have lost Tower Records and Virgin. HMV has always been there.
    But I will be the first to admit that i don’t shop instore as much as i used to
    Price being a major factor and the smaller shops closing down
    Monday was always new release day and I would go from work intim Oxford Circus ans start at HMV and see what was new and how much
    Looking at all the small shops from their via Berwick st and ending at Fopp
    Then deciding what one had the best price and then heading back their.
    There was a time when singles were a huge part of my collecting, 7 and. 12”, cd singles (I have thousands still on boxes on my loft) and it was so cheap to pic them up.
    The good old days aren’t there anymore as times change and streaming is easier, but for people of my age (52)and older there is still the attraction to CDs and vinyl and reissues etc. This will never change but we don’t mind buying them but at a fair price

  86. Paul, I can’t tell you how incredibly sad I am to read and hear this. I miss record shopping so much, like you there wasn’t a week in the 80’s and 90’s that I would not be in in the record stores, without the internet it was one of the few ways to find out what new albums were out there. I love browsing, finding old stuff and not having to wait for my CD to be mailed, I agree with you I’d be happy to pay a few bucks more for that convenience. Growing up In Montreal we had countless of places to go including the famous Sam The Record Man and eventually HMV. When Sam’s closed I was devastated, HMV closed a few years back. I still go record shopping and try supporting local businesses, here in Victoria BC we have 2 indie places but they rarely have what I want and when I try to order something it never arrives. I’ve tried for a month to order the new Boy George Culture Club album “Life”, I still don’t have it and I will probably have to order it online. Sunrise Records took over the old HMV but it hardly has any stock. I went in just before Christmas and could not even find new releases like the new Mariah Carey or Barbra Streisand album, never mind box set or any remastered or special editions outside of something big like the Beatles. I’ve been to London twice in the past 2 years, one of my first stops is always HMV on Oxford, it’s like Disneyland to me. I can’t imagine going back and it not being here. :(

  87. Wayne Olsen says:

    Well said. The digital revolution turned recorded music into disposable wallpaper. Sure, there are teens and twenty somethings who crave Hendrix vinyl like we do, but most see music as an added app on their iPhone.
    You don’t know how many times I’ve heard people around my age say “do they still make cds?” Forced obsolescence of physical product by the majors certainly hasn’t hurt them. No inventories, no warehouses, no sales staff (if which I was once a member) have had a wonderful effect on their financial well being. I am sorry to hear about HMV. The nearest decent record store to me is an hour or so away. So sad.

  88. Jurg says:

    I bought CD’s in the HMV store in Oxford Street six or seven times I guess in the 90’s. Me, my oldest brother and one or two neighbors travelled via the tunnel from Antwerp to London. That’s more than half an hour journey and £5 but online shopping did not exist back then. And we did not have such a big store so it really had a waw factor. I can’t sum up all the CD’s I bought there but one time I did buy among other things “On and On the Hits of Stephen Bishop”. On the train back home later that day I found out there was no CD in the jewel case. You can’t turn around and go back. But a year later we travelled again to London and I took that empty jewel case with me. I explained the situation and without any hesitation they gave me a new one with CD.

  89. RPM says:

    I’m lucky enough to still have an HMV store in a shopping centre fairly near to where I live, and I’m so sad that it won’t be there for much longer as I don’t really believe that the stores will survive this time around, although hopefully their online store will.

    I’m 51 and physical music has brought so much joy to me, but I’ve also embraced downloads and now streaming, but nothing can ever give me the same satisfaction as having the physical product. I do buy less CD’s than I used to, but have bought more vinyl in recent years. I was hoping that vinyl would keep HMV afloat for a few more years.

    Yesterday’s news saddened me. It’s another nail in the coffin for physical product. I’m grateful that HMV managed to survive for a further 6 years. All the best to the staff on finding new jobs. It must be awful for them right now.

  90. William Blount says:

    a query: does this mean fopp is going down the tubes too?

  91. Andy says:

    They should have gone back to what they did best… Selling music. Another thing that annoys me is they suddenly have a back catalogue of music from artists only when they pass away. Why not stock it in the first place and we wouldn’t need to go online to purchase. They do not promote enough and they lose out this way.. I’ll be very sad to see it go. If its saved they really do need to have a total rethink and start again and stock like they did in the 80s and 90s..

  92. Paul Taylor says:

    I have to say I was more than a little pissed off with John Robb’s assessment of the situation this morning on BBC Breakfast, particularly concerning the vinyl market. Maybe he should stop trying to be ‘trendy’ and ‘getting down with The Kids’ and remember his age. The respect I had for him shrivelled a bit today

  93. Gerbrand says:

    Sign of the times. Most brick and mortar shops are in trouble, not only music/dvd and books. Slowly disappearing from the streets like horse-drawn carriages and oil lanterns did in the previous century.

    We cherish physical product, the youth less/not so.

  94. Ben Williams says:

    Well said Paul. It is a shame to see a music shop close (if it does, it certainly looks like it will) but I suppose with the high street in decline and media becoming more and more digital as each day passes, it wasn’t a surprise to this reader.

    I will never stop buying records and CDs but my days of buying films and TV shows on DVD ended a long time ago – and with HMV making money on DVDs, how can they survive?

    But I agree with the sentiment that paying an extra £1 or so for something from a bricks and mortar shop is absolutely worth it. I suppose with busy lives, its easier to search for music online.

    I just hope that we can still support indie music shops and online music sites (the best being SDE!)

    • SimonP says:

      I only buy physical media when it comes to films. Apple have removed movies from customers’ accounts before now just because the license they paid for said movies had come to an end. That’s bang out of order in my book and can’t happen if you own it on a physical disc.

  95. Nice article Paul – if HMV does go for good this time I will miss it, but I always felt like I was in a minority for still appreciating its presence. Saying that, I don’t get the same buzz from going in there that I used to in the pre-internet days, not like a music store that deals with second hand stock – in there the unpredictability of what you might find makes each visit a thrill. I didn’t see the point of going in store (and my nearest branches are a bit out of the way for me ever since Enfield’s one closed during the first administration period) for their Big Sale, not when I could (and did) access the sale online. There I got Kate Bush’s Never For Ever and Lionheart (2018 remasters) for £6.99 each and the deluxe edition of Goldfrapp’s Silver Eye for £4.99. I ordered The Band’s Music from Big Pink (2018 mix) for £4.99 and Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Kaya 40 for £5.99 the day before the bad news broke but apparently online orders aren’t in danger of not being fulfilled so I’m hoping they’ll get dispatched soon.

    I hope this crisis does get resolved and that HMV/Fopp staff get to keep their jobs. It doesn’t look promising, but here’s hoping.

    By the way, the minimum spending amount to get free delivery on HMV’s website is £10, not £20, which certainly gave it the edge over Amazon!

  96. Del Murray says:

    Nobody has mentioned the fact that the HMV purepoints website is ‘under maintenance’ and has been since yesterday. That’ll be another shedload if points I’ll have lost

    • John 79 says:

      Yes me to, I was just about to get to my 150,000 pure points to get my £50 voucher,that’s 3 years of saving points down the pan,oh well

      It’s a sad day if it is the end of HMV,I’ve been a customer for 40 years and some of the staff at the Preston store have become Friends, it’s so sad for them if they are without a job.

  97. Steve says:

    Gotta say their pricing on box cd or vinyl sets is ludicrous. Every time I’ve seen one in there is at least £10 or more than amazon. Their vinyl section has been great and often there are decent sales. And they do have a great dvd bluray section. But sadly people have slowly stopped buying cds or dvds, especially from hmv. I don’t know what the answer is as I agree it’s not like it was 10-20 years ago. But I’ll hate to see it completely go. I was only in there yesterday. And in fopp.

  98. Pascal says:

    ‘What’s wrong with a small premium, in return for the customer experience of being in the shop, having staff to ask questions to, and being able to take home the product there and then?’

    The point you’re missing here in my opinion is dat there is no need to take the physical product home immediately. You order online and whilst waiting for the delivery you can stream it online. In fact you don’t even need to wait to get home to do that.
    Coincidently I visited Berlin a few days ago (I live in The Netherlands myself) and knowing that the stores of Saturn and Media Markt usually have a great stock of CD’s I did some shopping there. So I bought around 10 CD’s that will all stay sealed in its shrinkwrap. Why unwrapping when you don’t need the CD player anymore to listen to it?
    Furthermore, I don’t buy new albums on CD as soon as they are released anymore. I used to do that in the past because that was the only way to be able to listen to the music. Nowadays I just stream and wait for the physical CD to buy as soon as the price has dropped. Which it does far more quick these days then ever before.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Why buy the CDs when you have no intention of listening to them? Did it make you feel benevolent to the retailer?
      You lost your argument with that revelation, I’m afraid. It makes no sense

      • Pascal says:

        Simply because I’m a CD collector, Paul. You most of all should know what that means I guess.
        And my collection of just under 7,000 items at this point is still up for growth.

    • Jarmo Keranen says:

      I don’t stream the cd’s i’m planning to buy. I do like an old days and listen the record first time when i bought the physical cd. There’s not much greater joy when you listen the record first time with a good stereo system. Why keep the cd’s unwrapped when you can watch and enjoy the the booklets they come with!

      • Pascal says:

        As I have just also responded to Paul: I’m a CD/music collector. And sealed items will always be of higher value than unwrapped ones.

  99. Jason says:

    “If we does lose HMV from the high street, I will be remembering the good times – for me the 1980s and 1990s – and they really are just memories, with not even a faded photo as evidence of all those hundreds (probably thousands) of visits.”

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hmvgetcloser/with/5387168841/

  100. James says:

    Wonderful. You speak my thoughts exactly. Really interesting to see the huge reaction to this news and nice to see that many people feel like an old friend is fading away. That’s how I feel and I have wonderful and numerous memories of all the music stores i’ve frequented over the last 40 odd years. This news doesn’t surprise me but it saddens me. Music is now treated as a throwaway commodity with little value. Streaming doesn’t do it for me. If you’re passionate about music you’ll want it in your hands in the best quality. If you just want it as a background to your daily life then perhaps the modern way suits you. And there lies the problem. The passion just isn’t there. Technology has reduced pop music to computer generated noise pollution and now technology has taken away the physical aspect too. Rot in hell, Spotify et al, you will never get a penny of my money whilst my lungs still contract and expand.

  101. Paul says:

    I disagree with the instore pricing against the internet pricing. If you take the DM first two box sets Amazon is around the £49.00 mark HMV online and instore is around he £57 mark = £16.00 difference. If matched or within a pound or so then I would have gone there to buy these. Customers are prepared to wait a day or two to save this amount of money. I buy 80% of my DVDs/ Blu rays/ CD’s and Vinyl there especially because of the Pure points system which is a great idea.

  102. cdboy says:

    the last time I went into hmv was to buy the smiths queen is dead 12 inch
    probably over a year ago now
    a small section of vinyl at the back ,a really poor selection ,young staff who’s knowledge of vinyl was suspect
    needless to say I haven’t been back even though the store is only 3 miles away
    I’ve bought a shed load of vinyl on Amazon this year

  103. Cornelius says:

    HMV, on the High Street, used to stock a good cd back catalogue & varied range. Prices could be reasonable or astonishingly high. However, CD’S have been relegated in-store in favour of DVD’S & BLU-RAY. On an industry basis, sales of dvd/blu-ray have dropped considerably. And it’s this market that HMV backed after it’s previous collapse. They backed an eventual loser.
    Of interest, i was looking through some early 1990’s cd’s which still have the original HMV price labels on them. The prices were really high. Consistently £13.99 – £16.49 for regular cd releases.
    During the 1990’s, HMV expanded hugely. In Birmingham there were four prime-site stores within a five minute walk of each other. And HMV also accumulated Waterstones.
    Ultimately, HMV must have won big in it’s heyday but was slow in keeping up with modern consumer trends, and favouring the dvd/blu-ray market was a grave mistake. If consumers wish to shop or consume in a different way then it’s really tough for ‘cornerstone’ institutions to adapt.

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