HMV on the brink of collapse

HMV is on the brink of collapse, having filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators last week.

The last visible bricks-and-mortar music retailer in the UK has 125 stores and 2200 staff, although despite being known primarily for music, Paul McGowan, the executive chair of HMV and Hilco, identified a declining DVD market as one of the main culprits in this situation. He said today:

“During the key Christmas trading period the market for DVD fell by over 30% compared to the previous year and, while HMV performed considerably better than that, such a deterioration in a key sector of the market is unsustainable.”

Clearly the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and similar streaming services have had a major impact when it comes to consumption of films and TV series. Music sales were relatively strong with HMV announcing only in October that they were the UK’s leading retailer of physical music (ahead of Amazon).

An announcement of the appointment of KPMG as the administrator is expected later today. HMV were rescued from administration by Hilco in 2013. The first HMV store was opened in London’s Oxford Street in 1921 so the brand is only a couple of years away from their centenary.

Given the current situation, and the uncertainty, SDE advises that you don’t buy anything online from HMV for the time being. For now, stores will remain open.

214 responses to HMV on the brink of collapse

  1. Colin says:

    Any update on the plight of HMV. Mike Ashley (Newcastle United owner) was reported to have a big interest in saving (buying) it but not heard much lately!

  2. Vincent Ives says:

    I can’t be bothered to read every single post, but regardless of what people think of HMV’s pricing (almost always the same or better than Amazon) or product focus (the plastic toys that go for £15 a Pop are a huge moneymaker, especially the exclusives we do), the sole thing bringing HMV down is the rent. Everything is sale or return, so it’s nothing to do with what we stock. The issue isn’t streaming, it isn’t downloads, it isn’t changing consumer habits. They’re a factor, but while there are still boomers (and older) using the high street, there will still be a market for physical. Once the supermarkets realised they had Aldi & Lidl to deal with and stripped back their media selection, HMV should have been absolutely in the clear. Greedy landlords have made sure that’s not the case.

    • Gorecki says:

      And the rates surely? I believe HMV was paying between £15-20 million in rates last year. Compare that with Netflix being given a tax refund for most of it’s years in the UK (because it’s a tiny loss-making start-up that needs all the help it can get!), and Amazon paying around £3 million a year in tax – and very low rates because their warehouses are out of town. Not only that but Amazon don’t even contribute to the infrastructure they do need/ use – when Amazon were looking to site a new warehouse the Government in South Wales provided and built the infrastructure (roads, sewerage, street furniture, etc.) for them at a cost of £7.5 million GRATIS – whereas most companies (Aldi to Sainsburys) have to pay for this stuff themselves.

      The playing field is far from level and if this, or any future Government, wants to save even the remotest part of the high street, all the accompanying jobs, and, in the case of the creative industries that all British Governments want to boast about so loudly, new and emerging artistic talent – there has to be an urgent review into rates, rents, taxes, and the way streaming services operate (when there’s unlimited music per month for the price of a single CD someone has to be losing out and I’m pretty sure it ain’t Daniel Ek!).

  3. PChang says:

    Unfortunately HMV is done. They shut down all their stores in Canada two years ago, followed by Hong Kong this past year. Sunrise Records took over some of the HMV locations in Canada, but now they are struggling as well. Majority of kids today don’t want physical products, they are very happy with their Spotify and the likes.

  4. torchomatic says:

    That picture is the Coventry store by the looks of it.

  5. torchomatic says:

    IN the 80s I hated HMV. They were the kind of record shop that only sold the obvious and only then at a ridiculous price. As I’ve gotten older I’ve still avoided them when I can but always found it useful as somewhere to browse whilst my wife looks at clothes in another shop.

    I always find it sad when a famous shop bites the dust, whether I shop there or not, but unfortunately the world has moved on and places like HMV need to re-invent themselves or die. Ditch the T-shirts, DVDs and useless other bits and pieces and concentrate of stocking a good selection of vinyl and CDs at decent prices.

    I will always use an independent over HMV.

  6. John Orr says:

    That’s good news for online orders, but what about people who have amassed purehmv ‘loyalty’ card points? As some have said, the site is still down. I myself, have over 100,000 points, which equates to around £20? Will hang onto it nevertheless. Incidentally, popped down to my one and only branch on Friday, staff were just as surprised as everyone else about present circumstances, but I left empty handed. Online sale showed a few records I wanted, went down, guess what? Yep, not one of the records stocked. And therein, lies one of the many problems. I’ve had a few days to let the news sink in, but nostalgia aside, HMV, if they are to survive a second time on these islands, here in the UK, are going to have to make monumental changes. At this early stage, I can’t see them surviving, they had plenty of opportunity to adapt. You can’t take your regular customers for granted, and clearly, those regular customers were never going to be enough.

  7. Terry says:

    For anyone concerned about ordering from their online shop, i placed an order yesterday, both items in stock, and was dispatched within 2 hours of me placing the order!

  8. Nelson Lee says:

    Amazon are great but their boxes are getting bigger. Any more than 1 cd and the parcel won’t go through the letterbox. I tend to get mine delivered to a locker now which isn’t far from my hmv shop. I go to hmv at least 3 times a week. They always seem to get new releases and the staff are brilliant. The only downside is that their cd box sets are behind the counter so you can’t really see them

  9. Leemer says:

    Perhaps HMV will survive only in Japan, just like Tower Records does.

    • Snoopi says:

      Actually HMV in Japan is only a shadow of what it used to be, selling only new vinyl and 2nd hand cds…TOWER Japan is the only man left standing.

      • Emmanuel Goedseels says:

        I am just back from Tokyo, HMV has 3 stores focused on vinyl, a few new LPs but tons of collectors items, they seem successful in their reconversion

  10. Dan L. says:

    I tried and tried to give HMV my money over the years. The web store in Canada was an on-again off-again thing. They’d frequently list things and they would never materialize once I ordered them. The store was very nice but always.. “we can order that for you”. A lot of damaged vinyl on the shelves as well. Amazon used to be terrible for that but they realized how to do it right and do it better than anyone now (for the most part, excepting audiophile stores in the USA which over-pack to ensure pristine copies are delivered). If they got the web right they could still be competing but Amazon does it better than everyone. Retail spaces are expensive and with downloads being so easy this was bound to happen. If they had come up with some out-of-the-box thinking like offering a cloud download service for anything you bought physically or something like that maybe they’d still be hanging in. They were once big enough to have been able to negotiate something like that (like amazons AutoRip). The stores in Canada were selling T-shirts, mugs and posters to survive.

  11. Griffin says:

    Wow, so many posts. I didn’t read all of them. Too bad for their employees. But not just CD/DVD/Blu ray shops are closing down. Many others as well like clothing, electronics etc. Many of us just don’t want to overpay. So checking online for the best prices or shops (as cheap as possible of course).

    I don’t think “illegal” downloading was the reason for killing the physical products. It was only the wake up call for the record companies. Many people didn’t even know how to go online or simpel webbrowsing or composing/sending emails, let alone, installing the software, searching for music files and downloading. And not many people were happy with the quality of those files in 64 or 128 (some times 192 kbps was high quality already in the beginning of the internet era). And you’ll never know from which source (youtube perhaps).

    I believe the reason/problem was that record companies restricted some materials for some markets/countries like Japan, US, Australia, South East Asia, Europe. Back in those years it was very hard to get those true gems. Barely any online shops, high shipping costs, import taxes, customs duties, etc. So if people can get their hands on those they wouldn’t hesitated to get those first. And still looking for the cheap(er) physical products with those songs on.

    People was still buying music (physical products). But perhaps the newer muisc from 2000 on are getting “boring” (the youth were bored sooner, they want something new and moved on, many repetitives, or many similar songs, etc. Back in the days a song stayed in the chart for months, nowadays if you still listen to a song for 3 weeks or a month it’s a wonder (a month in the chart for a song is a very long time). And nowadays I barely can name a song or an artist from the songs I hear/listen on the radio. Back in the days you can just name the song title, artist and sometimes even the album where the song was from.

    The record companies are the ones responsible of killing the music markets. They keep releasing the same compilation CD over and over with a different title & different cover arts but exact the same tracklisting. In the 90’s-00’s there were so many brilliant CD packages, beautiful & surprising. Now just to cut costs something simple, ugly and even no care at all for the physical media (scratches, glue on it, cracks). They just don’t give a damn. Many, many, many errors were made like wrong tracks/versions/mixes, fade-outs, segued or not, missing a few beats at the beginning or end, vinyl rip, 2-3x the same song/version on the CD, bad authoring DVD’s etc etc and then after complaints not willing to correct their errors. Physical products buyers are discouraged by their way of handling things. They keep re-issueing/re-mastering/expanding every 5 years, 10 years, etc everytime they hold things back from us. So they can milk us over and over again untill we all passed away.

    They always put everything in one boxset, vinyl, CD, DVD, MC, Blu Ray, buttons, etc etc just to higher the price skyhigh, or say it’s limited to X number (first press, then there are still 2nd or 3rd pressing) just to trick us paying the big money, once our money are collected, they then lower the price. If they doing that every years people will know how/when to get their cheaper copies of those (around the Christmas sale). They always put everything on the streaming services or legal music downloads even before the release of physical products. Not keeping the exclusives to the physical products buyers. Then what’s the point. When people can stream or buy music files online of every single song of the releases they will probably not buying the physical products.

    There are so many stupid things they shouldn’t do. I believe other people can add some more to the ones I mentioned above.

    About HMV not shipping internationally: I bought more often from HMV HK and shipped to Europe.

  12. Straker says:

    NEVER bought a download, never streamed a track, movie or television show – I am 100% physical (ooh, Matron etc), No HMV blood on my hands!

    HMV Canada went south ages ago now – The UK must be the last one standing. or not after this week….?

  13. 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.

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  15. mino gagliardi says:

    The Cd format is dead but why? You buy a cd to help the ones who worked on it (and because you like it of course) and after a month or 2 they re release it with 10 new songs. Is it right? Remastered editions after 10-15 years are ok but after 1 month it is not fair. 20 years ago an italian singer did the same giving the chance to bring back the old edition to have the new one without any expense. This is fair!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I’m not sure it’s ever as soon as a month. If it is then just wait one month before buying your favourite artists’ new album and you’ll be okay!

  16. RJS says:

    It all started going down hill before Internet shopping took off for HMV, when supermarkets started stocking CDs and VHS/DVDs in the late nineties and undercutting them on price. In the mid-nineties the likes of HMV and Virgin had a licence to print money. A new release CD would cost about £13 and back catalogue CDs would cost about £15, except for some “Nice Price” and budget back catalogue CDs that cost about £9. I can still remember promotions where it was two CDs for £20! If the supermarkets and the Internet hadn’t come along, a new release CD would probably cost about £25-30 nowadays.

  17. Ive says:

    This is sad but not unexpected. I have very fond memories of browsing and buying music from HMV almost every week when I was younger.

    These days, I mainly stream. I do buy box sets once in a while but the shopping experience at HMV is so awful that I would never go in even if walking by.

    Perhaps thee is room for a good chain of small music shops with a luxury experience for audiophiles and others who still buy physical music but that’s not HMV unless they can change massively.

  18. Piotr says:

    Visiting HMV Oxford Street was a tradition whenever I visited London from my home in Australia. I spent hundreds of hours browsing their racks over the years, and spent thousands of pounds buying physical products in there. I have to say that on each visit I spent less and less time in HMV stores, preferring to spend more time in the smaller independent shops. Last time I went to London was in September, after a two year hiatus. I visited one of the bigger HMV stores in London, and I have to say I was greatly disappointed. Everything was mixed together and the store completely lacked focus. DVDs and Blu Rays were close to CDs, mugs, posters, books, vinyl figures and other items that needed to be kept separate. The vinyl record racks were filled to the brim, making it difficult to browse without needing to shift large quantities of other records. LPs were expensive, and I found almost none of the HMV exclusives. The main CD section was located on another floor, and after browsing that for 15 minutes, I completely lost interest. I used to have to buy extra bags when in London just to carry my purchases onto the plane, I have to say this time I left empty handed.
    While in Europe this year, I also had the opportunity to visit Berlin, and I made a special point of visiting the Dussmann store in Friedrichstraße as described by Paul on this very blog. What a difference to the London HMV. Like heaven and earth. The Dussmann store was laser focused, and each section felt like a completely different world. Amazing. If it wasn’t for me having only carry on luggage, I would have spent big. I had to limit my purchases to small items. Being there felt like the HMV of old.
    I really hope that HMV is somehow spared the axe, and it survives in some form. It will however need to reinvent itself in a major way if it’s to have a long term future.

  19. Geert De Wilde says:

    I stopped using them 15 years ago …

  20. Kai Steinemann says:

    I´m really devastated learning this! I regularly do visit London for shopping and one of the most important stops is at HMV and FOPP. Their in-shop assortment is astonishing compared to what we have left here in Germany. I especially love that you´re able to find items you haven´t thought of for quite a long time and usually at amzing prices. So this will make the market for music once again an even drearier desert. And although I know there´s some kind of connection here with the devilish online retailer (I´ve cancelled my account years ago) I have to say: FU Amazon.

  21. This worries me since I made a £90 pre-order just over a week ago that I don’t know if it’s going to be honoured or refunded.

    • Phil Wilson says:

      Pre-orders aren’t charged until despatched, so you should be OK, could cancel though to be safe?

    • Auntie Sabrina says:

      If you paid by VISA Debit Card and the £90 has been debuted, contact your Bank/Building Society and ask about Chargeback Mathew.

    • Gareth Pugh says:

      Matthew Hudson, I don’t know for sure but I would guess that stock-suppliers will be pulling up the drawbridge with immediate effect so I suspect any pre-orders (I have a couple outstanding with them) won’t get processed. Assuming you ore-ordered with a card, I would guess you’ll just not get charged if they never dispatch. But if you pre-paid for a pre-order with PayPal (where HMV E-Commerce Ltd capture your funds at the point of order, not dispatch – that’s just a PayPal MO thing), I’m not sure where you’d stand. I feel sorry for the staff too, the uncertainty over jobs going into new year can’t be great.

  22. Eric says:

    I opened an indie record store in 1985 and watched a lot of changes that forced us to evolve. We moved into pop culture collectables and moved out of bricks and mortar into the ether five years ago, sans CDs and LPs. While there are multiple reasons for the demise of record stores, a lot of the blood is on the hands of Napster. Almost everyone regarded music as a free service after that and physical store were seen as the bad guys. After the demise of Napster (I dance on their grave), people ever so slowly returned to paying, but now preferred the cheap digital version.
    The record companies being their own worst enemy is another discussion.

  23. David Kuznets says:

    I worked in HMV at the Oxford Street “megastore” (before they were called megastores) for 7 or 8 years in the 1970s. Four floors of recorded music. No books, magazines, t-shirts posters, toys monad before video tapes and DVDs. The popularity of LPs and cassettes were staggering then. I remember when new releases came out, we used to sell hundreds, even thousands of copies of the big ones. The Christmas period was a madhouse, it was impossible to even get from one side of the store to the other at times.

    We were able to stock virtually every record released and people travelled long distances to shop there, because they were looking for something obscure or just wanted to browse. It was a gold mine.

    I moved to Cambridge in 2003. There was HMV, FOPP, Andy’s Records and a least one other record store here which was gone with a years. Andy’s closed soon after. HMV moved premises then closed altogether, but FOPP is still going strong. And a couple of small vinyl only shops are still hanging on.

    I know FOPP is owned by HMV, but it may be hived off in a way that protects it from th same market forces as the rest of the company. Still, if HMV goes I expect FOPP will as well.

    I’m not sure the physical product market will survive long if HMV goes under. Perhaps Amazon and a few other internet/mail order provides will keep it alive, but a general downturn in the economy, especially with a bad brexit could spell the end for the UK manufacturing and distribution. Just a few high priced imports left for us collectors.

  24. Gavaxeman says:

    Can see from the news that they are honouring gift cards now, but any word on redeeming pure points ?

    • Auntie Sabrina says:

      I think their erms and conditions may/mean they can withdraw the offer or amend it. I just spent my £50 credit before Christmas. Fingers crossed they’ll honourcustomer loyalty…

  25. Glenn says:

    This is sad to hear. I remember visiting HMV in the UK when visiting. I am in the US and it reminds me of when Tower Records closed down in 2006. While I enjoyed visiting several of the stores to take advantage of the clearance it was sad to see them go. There is a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records called ‘All Things Must Pass’ done by Colin Hanks (Tom Hank’s son) who was from Sacramento, CA where Tower got started. It talks about some of the reasons for the collapse (streaming, Big Box stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy selling CDs at or below cost to get people in the door, record companies in the US discontinuing CD singles and forcing people to buy full albums, etc.) but a big one was that Tower tried to grow too big/too fast and got into too much debt right as physical music sales peaked and then began their decline in the early 2000s. Would recommend the documentary.

  26. AlexKx says:

    MY TURN to say something! Lol. :) I remember post after post and literally THOUSANDS of them around fifteen years ago saying how stealing music was the future! That the record companies, artists, and stores did not deserve to sell their product how they saw fit! That musicians were all multi millionaires so it was o.k. to steal from them! That they wouldn’t notice! That they did not need to make any more money! That this was going to help people who were struggling! I have no doubt that there are great and good things about downloading but I’m not sure destroying the music industry was the answer! The best responses I got were that playing live and selling merchandise was the answer and the future! Like it was back in the year 543!!! The mob public all nodded in agreement and proceeded to steal everything! How’s that working out for everyone now?!!!

    • Chris Squires says:

      Spot on. Music ceased to be something that people were happy to pay for. Even here, on these pages, you always get a percentage of posts saying the same thing. Cash Cow, Rip-off, does xxx need a new yacht and so on. It’s that attitude that has killed the industry. People with zero knowledge of what it takes to bring a decent product to market. Quick to moan if it is lower than expected quality and equally quick to moan if the quality is high and they have to pay for it. All of that research, baking, copywriting, production etc. Music has become a “something for nothing”. It irks me when a really well thought out box set of say, 4 CDs and a DVD or Blu-Ray is released at £50 and people still say “I will consider it if it drops to £20” (WetWetWet). How a young singer songwriter is supposed to make a living is beyond me. They must look at a late 70s act and just sigh. I have no problem with somebody who is super talented becoming rich on the back of that talent but there is an undercurrent that just doesn’t like or tolerate this any more. The hypocrisy of people who are happy to steal and yet complain when someone wants to be paid for their endeavours. We get what we deserve and reap what we sow.

    • AlexKx says:

      Just to clarify this ingenious retro thought and insight of mine the hoards of thousands of posts that I am referring to were on articles all over the internet…I don’t recall any specifics (too much anyway) from this website. Is the glitter gold bug mine now?

  27. Dejan says:

    HMV didn’t/doesn’t sell outside UK. I was interested many times to buy from them. I guess it’s their downfall to restrict online stores only to the national public. Bad idea, as proven.

  28. Roel Glas says:

    This is very sad news. I live in Perth, Australia and have travelled to London every year for the past 5 years to visit my daughter and also to pay a visit to HMV & Fopp stores. Bricks & motar stores are up against it, not only from online sellers but also greedy landlords. Our “High End” fashion street in Perth (King Street) has many empty stores due to these greedy landlords. Why didn’t HMV in 2013 move from Oxford St to a side street and halve their rent. People still would have found them.
    The only music retailer in Australia (except independents) is JB Hifi – Whilst their music section has become a hell of a lot smaller over the years, they seem to have modeled their business on that of Media Markt in Europe. Yes, they still have music & dvds but also sell, hifi, computers, phones, small electrical, TV’s and white goods etc. When I was in Media Markts in Amsterdam & Berlin last year, they all had a real good selection of music & seem to be thriving.
    Just a thought!

  29. smorrissey says:

    Wait a minute, where are the vinyl saviors?, vinyl was making a huge come back right? Hurry call Sunrise Records to save them!.

    Oh well at least we still have Amazon to save the day.

  30. Eric Weinraub says:

    I read a lot of comments that really don’t nail down what’s going on. Lots of near misses. Fundamentally, the need to physically shop is being replaced by momentum for increased convenience and lower prices. It is NOT a younger generation that is fueling this change as younger people are simply optimizing the tech my generation, the ones dreaming, designing and building the tech, is making this all possible. Efficiency will ultimately leave very few people left to actually buy the very products meant for a much larger population than can afford the products.

  31. Wilfred says:

    with no competition Amazon can name their prices at a higher level and dominate even more and still pay a pittance on taxes

  32. Ian Harris says:

    Have to address the comment that HMV would be ‘unrecognisable’ with a change in its attitude to music. On the contrary, I think it would mean a return to what used to be so exciting about the shop, and I’m talking 35 or so years ago. All they sold was music, with perhaps a tiny VHS section. The amount of stock they had in those days was breathtaking, back catalogue albums you didn’t see anywhere else, racks of imported 12″ and 7″ singles. They also weren’t as ubiquitous as they became in the last 10-15 years. For me a visit to the HMV shop on Oxford Street was a rare treat (ditto the Virgin Megastore).

    As I got older I found HMV really off putting. There was less and less music and far more ‘tat’ I’m not remotely interested in. Also the deafening in-store music and the same old titles coming around again and again and again in their ‘biggest sale ever!’ (oh look it’s Urban Hymn! A Kind Of Blue! What’s Going On etc etc all for £5 each. Just like they were last time).

    The classical section of the old Oxford Street megastore (the 3 storey one) was a haven; it was in its own glassed off section, so the deafening pop couldn’t be heard.

    I think there is still a place for knowledgable specialised music store. But surely NO ONE goes to HMV to pay hundreds of pounds for ‘tech’ or other gubbins? Concentrate on the music; smaller, less cramped and more welcoming stores with staff who know their stuff. Maybe do deals with labels like some retailers do in the US for exclusive CD versions with bonus tracks not available online. Giving people something they can’t get online seems to work for Record Store Day after all.

  33. Richard Ratcliffe says:

    I am really upset to hear that HMV may be closing.I have made many purchases over the years from my local store in Banbury to try to support & keep it in the town. Banbury is becoming a ghost town with so few shops left in our High Street- Millets being the latest victim to hold a closing down sale. The local council just seems to be totally blind to what is going on & should be more proactive- reducing parking fees etc.It has stepped in to save a planned expansion to the Castle Quay Shopping Centre but what is the point of creating extra retail space to fill when there are already so many empty retail units. Ann Summers is closing shortly & with rumours of Debenhams failing & now HMV under threat I really despair for the future of retail in the town centre. Hoping that HMV can be saved

  34. andy says:

    I shall visit HMV tomorrow to buy something.

  35. Zongadude says:

    What a sad news to read.
    I went three times to the UK in 2018 and I visited a lot of HMVs (along with independant record stores). Each time I came out with tons of Blurays that can only be found in the UK (you have sometimes the same titles in France but only on DVDs), and with tons of Lps !!!
    I would be very sad if in the near future my trips to the UK will be deprived of any HMV visit.

  36. Marxisn't says:

    I think the problem is a lack of ‘disposable’ income, people who go to food banks aren’t going to buy records… Look at the rise in homelessness.

    The whole record industry has become monopolies and mergers in the hunt for profit. The whole Amazon thing has been a Dickensian retrogressive step into hell. Careful who you give your money to as it will cost you more in the long run! Why support tax dodgers and why does our government allow it to happen?

    I would miss hmv from the high street as I understand it’s value, my local branch is excellent. If hmv does go, i only hope that independent stores receive a shot in the arm from this…. No I PRAY!

  37. Tim says:

    I shopped at HMV regularly over the years because I believe in supporting shops in the high street. I have over 183,000 hmv pure points which i have gained through previous purchases and had hoped they would give me a discount on one of the kate bush box sets that had been released but I cannot access the points or the hmv pure website to redeem them. I am most dissapointed in the company not honouring their customer loyalty scheme . This is an absolute reason why I will have to turn to an alternative , companies need to be honest and trustworthy.

  38. Rik Skyline says:

    I wonder if the executive chair of HMV has identified that most people who go into HMV aren’t looking for Funko Pop figures.

  39. Harrison says:

    Sad news and surprising for me. Im only familiar with the Birmingham store and felt confident the resurgence in vinyl was enough to keep HMV safe.
    I hope the company can be saved and like others have said, focus on the music side.

  40. Kevin Galliford says:

    This will be a great shame. There’s a lot to be said for the ancient art of browsing & finding something you were’nt really looking for or finding a lost gem that you had been hunting down for a period in time. I used to love losing hours in the HMV on Oxford St ( opposite M&S – long gone ) & the Tower records in Piccadilly Circus. Sadly those days are gone & the current generation has no idea of the thrill of buying new music on the day of release. When I go to London now my Favourite shop for music is the Fopp in Covent Garden which is brilliant & has great staff so I hope they will be ok. I guess we are all to blame for this decline but when Amazon has so much choice & you don’t live near a decent music shop, like me now, what are you going to do? The last time I was in a HMV I came out with a load of Bjork stuff which I would have never bought otherwise & I’m sure we all have similar stories.

  41. Ian says:

    HMV was the last music retailer here in Doncaster & being in the ‘5 people queue’ outside HMV for the gold Bowie / Silver Iggy Pop LP’s the writing was on the wall. Exclusive physical product couldn’t draw a crowd, perhaps the fact we have an Amazon distribution centre with all those highly paid staff has also had an effect on sales?

  42. Tony O says:

    Following on from the comments re amazon deliveries and damage i would suggest, and i am talking vinyl and box sets that unless the item comes in its own custom made packaging or the amazon vinyl mailers at least 70% is damaged, my beatles stereo box this year arrived 3 times until i got a good one, the latest boney m box set is now on my 4th and it has arrived in a clear plastic bag sellotaped together and no shrink wrap. George harrison box set, i ordered 2 and they turned up perfect because they came in the original box, the first two beatles stereo boxes were loose packed, the final one came in the custom box. The suede coloured vinyl box sets were a similar joke, i ordered 7 and ended up keeping 2 and one of those is not really up to scratch. I am now ordering at least 3 of everything I want and then sending back what is either damaged or not needed. it must cost them a fortune and I cant believe they will let it carry on unless they can easily absorb the cost of the returns because so many of their other packages arrive ok or the condition of the outer cases is not as important as it is with collecting vinyl.

    • Marcus Fahrman says:

      I must be exceedingly lucky. I live in Sweden and have ordered close to 50 vinyl records during the last two years from Amazon UK. Not one has arrived in less than perfect condition. My experience with Amazon has been superb – fair prices, extremely low shipping costs and truly speedy delivery. Sad to hear your experience has been so much worse.

  43. Harrison says:

    Very sad to hear this news, the only branch i visit is in birmingham, purely for the large cd section and it is usually busy. I thought the resurgence in vinyl would be enough to keep HMV going. The city has lost some great music shops in the past fifteen years including some independents and another large HMV. Buying online is nice but so is being surrounded by displays full of cds, picking some up, putting some back until you feel sure youve got the best bunch.

  44. Paul Wainwright says:

    All people who down load music,and copy music are to blame for the down fall of the shops closing.Buy cds and dvds,and we dont have a problem

    • Louis says:

      I’m afraid that that’s not the reason. Is the tale that Stores and Discographics tell us since long time ago, but they get silence about the truth. Overpriced music, re selling the same album ech year with some different bonus songs, etc. Also, the times are changing since some years ago, the way young people consume music is diferent. In my opinion, young people goes to concerts or music festivals just for the party, the mood. That and the overpriced music push the people to go to alive music events without buying the music in any format. The bands and their music is not so important as many years before … Music, at least in Spain, disapeared from TV long time ago,… Radio Formula is boring, as usual. Fashion music that today is on top, tomorrow nobody remember… Lot of changes that record companies have not asumed yet or at least on time. Diverse incorrect business strategies that force the stores to close.

    • Lee Realgone says:

      No… It’s not that simple. You’re looking at the problem through 1990s spectacles. Piracy is not the big issue here.

      Hmv are struggling in a world where 80% of their wares can be legally streamed online. There is also a generation of people in their late 20s and early 30s whom are renting small flats and no longer have space for piles of physical items.

  45. Bill Darlington says:

    More importantly (because I rarely buy anything from HMV), what will happen to FOPP, which was bought over by HMV. (FOPP had. closed after the record companies squeezed them for cash. I suspect that this was at the behest of the big stores, like HMV and Virgin, who were annoyed by FOPP’s low prices.)

    • Paolo says:

      I was many years ago (20) in Oxford Street shop and in Dublin ( 16 ). In Italy we didn’t have these stores (only in the big cities like Milan and Rome) where you found beautiful and sometimes exclusive editions of your favorite artists. For only three years we had a Virgin megastore in my city (Padova). Other times….. now there is only Amazon…. the only price option on SDE too…..other options are too expensives

    • Dave R says:

      I would be surprised that if HMV is saved that Fopp’s stores remain open too. The problem with Fopp was that the then owners overstretched themselves by thinking they could takeover MVC when that particular company went through.

  46. bob peel says:

    Gutted honestly gutted for all involved

    it it wasn’t for HMV i would never of had the chance to meet Bryan Ferry , Paul Mccartney , Suede , Kasabian among others , i always use HMV for the PureHMV scheme (yes its been shoddy since its revamp) but still as a loyal follower gutted :(

    i’ve got about 2000+ pure points to spend also now sadly i cant (thats probs £70 in vouchers if traded in)

  47. Steven says:

    I know HMV is taken for granted to UK residents, but as someone traveling to London from the US, it’s fantastic. We don’t have anything close in the US. We have fantastic indie shops like Amoeba in California, which is the best indie shop in the world, but nothing like HMV. I love HMV when I am there. As soon as I check into my hotel, I go to Oxford Street. I follow it with Berwick Street, but it’s different. Its this cheaper is better mentality that we’ve been living in recently that is driving these places away.

    • Kauwgompie says:

      Amoeba is great!! Excellent shop. Each time I’m in SFO, I go straight from the hotel to Amoeba.
      Paul, I know you are working on updates for Would be great to have a place where ppl can recommend cd/vinyl stores in a city so when you travel, ppl can go straight to one of those shops.

  48. Paul W says:

    I was in an HMV store in London the last time the business was at risk of collapsing. Behind the counter, a member of staff could be heard complaining that HMV needed to get back to selling music, not the “other crap” (his words). He made reference to the cheap promotional tat located at the checkout – my stock answer to the question “would you like to buy such-and-such for on £1.99?” was always a firm but polite no. And as for the reward card – I have one from way back when, but I never bothered using it.

    HMV, I think, has suffered because it lost its focus and tried to diversify: books, toys, candy, graphic novels, tech. It has failed to understand its purpose. Woolworths suffered the same fate: try to be too many things to too many people, and the message becomes muddled. It begs the question: what are you?

    My local HMV recently downgraded to a smaller store, losing a huge amount of floor space. The general layout, however, remains the same: the front half of the store is dedicated to DVD and Blu-ray, while music skulks forlornly at the back.

    If their physical sales of music are strong, then perhaps HMV should work to build on that, play to their strengths, and rid themselves of gimmicks.

    The alternative, sad though it is, would be to let the business fail. Wrap it up. They had a good run. But there’s no room for nostalgia. The times continue to change, and retailers often seem reluctant or unable to embrace or address those changes.

    • Bill darlington says:

      Well said.

    • Paul Murphy says:

      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. Retailers can change as much as they like but you can’t fight an imbalance like that.

  49. the_emdee says:

    Agree with the comment that HMV try to be all things to everyone which won’t ever work. Drop the toys, gadgets and hardware; concentrate on big selling Top 40, curated music and boxsets. I’ve found in the last few years that HMV and Waterstones suffer the same fate; searching a book or CD published just two weeks previously, no stores (in London or Birmingham) having copies. Amazon meantime can have it with me next morning… I’d much rather use bricks and mortar, but they have to be fit for purpose rather than desperately average on all levels. Woolworths syndrome?

  50. Mike says:

    I’ve always expected Brick & Mortar prices to be pricier than online, it’s striking the balance between too expensive and acceptable that stores can’t seem to manage.

    Regarding Amazon I have nothing like 4 out of 5 errors with orders, more like none in the last three years. The one area where Amazon really win is on returns (and the reason I won’t abuse the service) – being able to order a replacement and have 30 days to return the original is exceptional and (especially with large box sets) means you can create one “good” box should the replacement have a different fault.

  51. Antonio says:

    I visited the Banbury HMV before Christmas and bought the Bowie Glasto vinyl & a Blondie red vinyl Parallel Lines, nice staff and a nice store, I asked if they could price match the Bowie Loving The Alien vinyl box with Amazon but they couldn’t.
    I was with a teenager who didn’t understand why I was buying hard copy, and there within lies the problem I guess.

  52. Alan says:

    I still buy from HMV – prices tend to match Amazon’s, and with Amazon you have to buy £20 to get free postage. Also I’m wary of Amazon since the Before The Dawn CD arrived three times with bent spines due to the terrible cardboard packaging that offered no support for it. In the end I got a refund and bought from That’s Entertainment (another shop that went under last year).

    I never bothered with HMV’s points card – I was offered it every time I bought something, but as it was £3 and I half-expected them to go into administration again, I’m glad I didn’t.

    Last year I did ask a staff member if he knew how the business was doing. He seemed very positive, pointing out that Hilco ran it as a business, whereas its previous owners may have had a love of music but little business sense. He also said it was technology and t-shirts etc that were its main breadwinners now. He also mentioned HMV opening a new shop in Burton-on-Trent (a smaller town than you’d normally expect HMV to be in these days – it took over That’s Entertainment’s premises there).

    Even after all he said, I still wasn’t totally convinced but wanted to believe it had a future. If it goes I may stop buying physical music (in terms of standard CDs).

  53. Andrew M says:

    I am actually completely devasted by this – even more so than when toys r us went and that was bad.

    I LOVE His Master’s Voice. It is a store that has been with me since birth and ever since I love physical music. I take my children in there almost weekly and even at just 2.5 years old my daughter loves looking at vinyl, holding it her hands, looking at things. I take her to the Disney vinyl section and we look through it together.

    I bought her the lion king soundtrack in there the other day.

    I use amazon more than HMV granted, but I do use HMV as much as possible. For anything big I always try to go there. The queen vinyl collection, the Beatles box set, Chris Cornell etc etc. My rule always was if it was a fiver or less more for a single item, or £15 or less more for a box set I would support HMV. It was rare that I couldn’t due to price.

    Interesting to read what was said about movies. We bought a new 4K TV and an Xbox one X with UHD player for Christmas and we went into HMV to browse.

    Browsing in a shop is just so more pleasant than browsing on a web site. I ended up buying three discs as well as the Beatles. £160. And that’s not unusual.

    I absolutely despair of what the future holds for my children. We are of a generation that knows what we want. We know we want to watch this movie, and listen to this album. We are active consumers, controlling our consumption.

    To me the digital world is mainly passive. The average Netflix user logs on, scrolls through and goes “oh I like that thumbnail I’ll watch it”. They are passive consumers rather than active. The streaming service is influencing them, servicing them, serving them. It is the same with Apple Music, Spotify and the others on the whole.

    Are my daughters going to develop their own taste? Are they going to develop likes and dislikes? Or is their taste going to be influenced by the streaming algorithms that serves them this because they listened to that?

    Will they ever go out in the fresh air and experience the joy of the effort of physically walking in the fresh air, in to a shop, interacting with a knowledgeable human being who knows music, talk about physical product (like I did to the HMV guy yesterday – looking back he must have known already) and hold it in their hands and go home and play it? The effort involved, the activeness?

    Or will they passively sit on their arses at home, digital device in hand, and passively scroll through a list? Never know the excitement of seeing that queen box set behind the counter knowing it’s there’s, that they’ve preordered it, that it’s there for THEM?

    Everything’s instant, passive, easy. And I hate it. I despair.

    If HMV go we won’t have one place in Norwich to buy music or movies…..:(

    Sorry for the long post

    • RJS says:

      “Never know the excitement of seeing that queen box set behind the counter knowing it’s there’s, that they’ve preordered it, that it’s there for THEM?”

      Times are changing, old timer and the consumerism that you appear to be so fond of is evolving. Young people seek excitement from experiences, not a 200 quid ornamental box set.

      • BLB says:

        Bullshit. Hanging out in a record store is an experience (and a great one at that). As for young people, staring at your phone day and night is a piss poor experience. “Exciting” my ass. If history has taught us anything it’s that a lot of change is unnecessary and joyless.

      • Neon says:

        All due respect RJS, but it doesn’t sound like you get the point of what he was saying. And plenty of young people have grown up being dedicated to physical stuff, myself included – Andrew is (rightly, I think) concerned about future generations being deprived of that and all that it brings.

        Another worrying concern is the prospect of the way that music is consumed changing meaning that the way that music is produced could change as well. I suppose that’s more difficult to pin down or define, but the disposable, transient nature of streaming is at risk of affecting young artists’ creative approach to making music itself. Recent evidence has not been encouraging, but we must keep the faith.

        Long live HMV. Fingers crossed that it lives on in some way.

        • RIS says:

          I got the point exactly. Young people just don’t share the same emotional attachment to possessions that older people do. Why spend 200 quid on a Queen box that’ll only end up a a display item next to all your other box sets or buy a DVD for a film you’ll only ever watch once when you can stream it instead. As for new music in the future, I don’t think it really matters – there’s 60 years of rock and pop music to fall back on!

    • Mad Earwig says:

      Your experience of HMV is so different to mine.

      My local one is in the huge Bluewater centre and it’s a depressing experience. The aisles are crowded, the CD/DVD’s racks are below eye level and the emphasis is on piles of ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Holby City’ box sets. It is not an enjoyable experience for buying.
      The staff do not have a knowledge of music, they just know that Pearl Jam is under P in the pop/rock section.
      Amazon marketplace for me where I found a rare underpriced Ashra album in Scotland…that I liked.

  54. Mark Lavallee says:

    I honestly didn’t realize they were still around! Never existed here in the US as far as I know, definitely not in Los Angeles anyway. Spent two weeks in London this past summer and never walked past one. Hadn’t been to London since 1993 and all the record shops I loved on that trip were long gone, just as sad as it is here in LA.

    • Phil Cohen says:

      Incorrect Mark. HMV had a store in New York City, and I shopped there when visiting NYC in the early and mid 1990’s. I have fond memories of visiting London in 1988,1989, 1992 & 1994, and going to big London record shops such as Virgin Megastore, HMV and (especially) Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. These huge stores were open until late at night, and if I had nothing to do at the end of an evening(after daytime work as a CD boxed set compiler) Tower’s Piccadilly store was where you’d find me. The selection was beyond anything we had in the U.S.A., and all sorts of obscure Japanese import and collectable limited editions could be found. I also took the train to visit regional record shops such as Adrians in Wickford (which thankfully still exists).
      In my part of the world (South Florida) the situation is very grim for CD & record collectors. There is no dedicated record store in the northern half of Florida’s largest county(Miami-Dade County). A department store named “Target” has some CD’s, but elsewhere in the county, there may be some record stores, but they are Latin Music specialists who serve the Cuban exile community.

    • CJ says:

      HMV had at least one or two stores in NYC, but they went out a long time ago. They were quite popular in Canada (i live just 30 minutes from the border), so I used to drive over to Kingston or Ottawa to get my “big store” fix, but then they went out of business in Canada about a year or two ago. It’s getting more and more difficult to find a physical retailer to go to and browse and discover new things. It’s depressing.

      I have one independent record store, which isn’t all that bad, about an hour from where I live, but they are increasingly being taken over by Vinyl, and the things I used to be able to be certain would be in stock when I went there aren’t always there now.

  55. J says:

    In the USA we are way ahead of the curve. The big box stores went by the wayside back in the late 1980s. The margins for bricks & mortar just are not there anymore. If you look @ the cost structure (rent, wages, taxes, insurance, etc) it is not possible for the big box to exist & be profitable. The independents will exist to some extent but even well run stores are becoming cognizant that their online sales are driving profitability. Best Buy no longer sells CDs & their in-store vinyl selection is putrid on a good day. FYE has one membership for store sales and a different one for online customers. These guys are cannibalizing themselves and they will be next. Online & Indies are the wave of the future & I kind of like Tidal when I hook it up to the big rig.
    The Times They Are A Changin’

    • noyoucmon says:

      @J: “The big box stores went by the wayside back in the late 1980s.”

      No, they didn’t. Tower operated in the US until late 2006, if not early 2007. Virgin Megastore was around after that in some US cities. That’s just two examples.

      • Mike Villano says:

        I live in L.A also and the big box electronic stores didn’t even show up here until 1990 or so. And my Tower shuttered at the end of 2006 too with Virgin gone in 08. It’s sad, but the kids who were working at those places might as well have been selling toilet paper instead of music for all they cared. When I was a kid, I was asked to work in my local record store because the owner could tell I knew a lot at a young age.
        But hey, as long as they know that Pearl Jam is filed under “P,” them all is right in the world.
        I will make a trip to Amoeba this weekend as it’s been four months since my last visit

    • AlexKx says:

      What is your definition of “big box stores”? I don’t know anything about them going wayside back in the late 1980’s. Maybe around the turn of the century? MAYBE. Certainly the past fifteen years but THIRTY years ago? Lol.

  56. PaulM says:

    Not completely relevant to SDE, but I support 2 lads with learning difficulties , and every Monday I take them to my local HMV store in Reading, where they spend anything from £5.00 to £30.oo in the shop on DVDs[ mainly], and CDs, they will both be devastated if this branch closes.
    The staff are always helpful and friendly.For that reason alone I hope they continue in business.

  57. Chris says:

    HMV closed in 2017 in Canada, it was replaced by Sunrise Records. There has never been an issue with parking as the shops are all located in a mall, which has plenty of available spots. The real issue is the selection, there really is nothing available to make the browse worthwile for me. Yes, they have most the new realease pop stuff, same as HMV used to have. Their prices are also for the most part more expensive than shopping online. This is why they are closing, because of lack of selection and their price point. Who gives two hoots about “2 for 20 bucks” when I have owned all of these items for more than 20 or even 30 years. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as physical product has been on the decline for over a decade. Although I would love to browse through the many hallowed isles and find those gems again, those days are long gone. They have been replaced by online shopping, where one can shop from the comfort of their personal device and find anything one would like. Times have changed, like it or not. The days of brick and mortar stores are gone the way of the dodo. It is a shame, but will not stop me from purchasing whatever physical format that I can find. There are still many options that continue to be available to the masses, Superdeluxeedition, Rubellan, Discogs, Amazon, and even Ebay. Heck there are even some indepedent vendors around too. Long live the collectors!

    • Gisabun says:

      Wouldn’t say Sunrise “replaced” HMV. HMV went bankrupt and sold their inventory they couldn’t return to the distributers.
      Sunrise then leased the same spots for something like 70 HMV stores across Canada [of around 125 stores that HMV had]. They even kept the vinyl and CD bins that HMV had.
      I was at one store yesterday and walked out with nothing during the Boxing Week sales. Unlike previous years, they only had select few items on sale for Boxing Week.
      In general, as you said, their prices are expensive. They also [like HMV in Canada] carries too much crap [figurines, board games].
      They also have the same useless 2/$20 [and similar] discounts that HMV had.
      I still remember a local chain of 5 stores had great prices when the original SRV remasters came out. HMV had a matching price clause. I went to them because the small chain was out of my way. Initially got a we can’t match because it’s below out cost reason. Seriously 5 stores versus 125?
      Going back to Sunrise. The one thing I noticed was that Amazon was charging $180 for the 8 movie box set in 4K. One day discount at $110. Sunrise had it on special at $180 with a regular price of $250!

      • KeithC says:

        Not sure about the selection in your city but here in Calgary the Sunrise stores have had better pricing than amazon on very new releases (Marc Almond / English Beat / Cure / Soft Cell / Brian Ferry / Paul Heaton / Steve Wilson / Images in Vogue / Fred Schneider / Flesh for Lulu just to name a few I’ve bought in the last few months. All at least $3-$8 cheaper than and on the shelf for immediate consumption. The new Kate Bush and PiL box sets were also on the shelf and at prices comparable to Amazon. If you used the 25% off coupons prior to Xmas they were very competitively priced vs anything I see online. DVDs can vary though but there are some good deals. They also recently came out with an app that gives some $ back from purchases. That being said, they do sell some of the same crap HMV did.

      • Glen Schol says:


        I was in the St. Catharines, Ontario Sunrise over Boxing Day & like you said there weren’t any sales. The staff pointed me to the 2/20 racks as their sale items for Boxing Day.

        Their selection is also lacking.

        I wanted to buy Thom Yorke’s Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film) but they didn’t have it. Also Fucked Up’s new double album “Dose Your Dream”. Nope.

        The layout of the store is also very confusing. The new cd releases are hidden in a corner of the store. It should be prominently displayed in the front where people first enter the store. OK you need to sell tshirts & games to pay the rent but presumably most people go to your store to buy music they can’t get in any other store.

        I made a bet with my girlfriend. In a couple of years Sunrise will be gone from the retail landscape in Canada.

  58. Darren Linklater says:

    Disaster for record buyers, artists and record companies. It’s essential that a HMV offers competition to Amazon, not only for the bricks and mortar experience and the high street as a whole but for market forces.
    Imagine what would happen if 90% of music was sold through Amazon? Prices would not be competitive and Amazon will dictate to record companies who will no longer have other volume outlets. I try to buy at my local shop when I can and have found prices at HMV to be often cheaper than Amazon and the staff are knowledgable and friendly. I use Amazon for the deeper titles that are not stocked in HMV but it’s essential that there is completion.
    I think the record companies will realise the importance of the last volume retailer on the High Street and hopefully keep them alive in a smaller form with perhaps less focus on DVD which appears to be the main problem.
    My trips to HMV are pretty much the reason I go to town. Without it I probably won’t bother. It’s high time government and local authorities did something before the high street dies.

  59. unique says:

    i worked in both hmv and fopp (before hmv owned it) in the past and it was great fun working there, and getting discount. hmv was always overpriced for me apart from in the sales. i was in both shops on boxing day and didn’t spend long looking around and not buying anything. £30 for a double LP of an album released 40 years ago when the cd’s been £5 for decades? no thanks

    i then spent £50 on records in my local second hand shop, getting a decent discount without even asking. i did used to spend a fortune in there but hadn’t been in for a long time and never met the guy working there before

    for new stuff it’s mostly amazon as the price is cheaper. i’ve spent about £500 with them this month alone with a new telly and xmas gifts. discogs is the other place to blow cash apart from ebay

    hopefully they can rescue at least some of the shops, but selling stuff you can get cheaper online is harder and harder now. especially when you can listen to most new albums on the release day on spotify for a small monthly fee, or even free. so you can get instant gratification and wait for the cd to come in the post

  60. Rich P says:

    I really hope they don’t go under. I regularly spend a lot of time and money in HMV and I much prefer a physical format than something off Spotify and such like. Such a crying shame – I hope they are saved in some form, shopping is a poorer place without HMV.

  61. Cosmo Castanza says:

    Sad on a certain level but…..when HMV came to my town in the 80’s their pricing finished off the 3 wonderful record shops in the town centre.
    The article describes it as ‘ the last bricks and mortar’ shop…….however there are independents such as the legendary Piccadilly Records in Manchester and also a Fopp in Manchester.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I meant last bricks and mortar music chain, but yes, obviously there are independents. Having said that I live in North London and there is no independent record shop that sells new CDs and vinyl anywhere near me!!

      • Eamonn says:

        Flashback Records? (or is it all second-hand?)

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          They don’t do new CDs… but they do do new vinyl. Flashback are excellent and they also have a great selection of used CDs/Vinyl. Despite this, I think a independent record shop needs to sell both new CDs and new vinyl to be considered a reasonable alternative to HMV, or Amazon for that matter, and I don’t think there are ANY in Hackney or Islington for example.

    • Paul says:

      Issue is that Fopp is HMV…

    • Branny says:

      Cosmo Hmv owns Fopp. The list of branches in danger includes the Arndale and Trafford Centre as well as the Fopp next to Slaters. I am a regular visitor to all three and still spend a fair amount in cds. I often have no idea what I’ll come out with but usually see something that takes my fancy. If the three stores close then browsing days are over.

      • John says:

        I usually have a mooch around X-Records in Bolton and they have a large amount of CDs and vinyl new and old

        And yes they also have a large DVD collection!!

  62. Darren says:

    Amazon undercut on everything and can deliver before you order.
    When I go in to HMV everything is either overpriced, not in stock or, in the case of vinyl, damaged from their terrible racks. The way they cram the vinyl into each section leading to creases in the sleeves as there is no manoeuvring or in some cases just stacked on the floor like Bluewater on Saturday where some lovely Genesis reissues were strewn across the carpet.

    The box sets are all dogeared where they fell off an over stocked display cabinet or, as I saw on Saturday , when some knocked a £130 Paul McCartney boxset 5 feet to the floor as it was stacked precariously on top of a display unit.

    I really feel for the staff as most are knowledgeable and helpful but the stores, since the last takeover, are a prime example of why the high street is failing.

  63. wesley mc dowell says:

    Very depressing news indeed.I love going up to hmv in Belfast.One employee told me it was a goldmine not long ago.Last year independent store Head closed in the city,so this is very sad.Although I believe there could still be a chance for them.I refuse to give up hope .Its almost unthinkable.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I was in the Belfast store on Christmas Eve. The whole of downstairs is virtually all devoted to DVD/Blu-ray – the market that is crashing and burning. At the back is ‘technology’. You have to go upstairs for most of the music, of course. Goes without saying that our sympathies are with those whose jobs are under threat, but the bottom line is that these massive three or four floor city centre shops are far too big and expensive to run and they just aren’t a good fit to the audience for physical music who are looking for curation, nice environment, time to chat with knowledgeable sales staff (not people running around madly stacking up shelves). To survive, I think HMV would need to change its approach so much, they’d be close to unrecognisable.

      • FrenchDuke79 says:

        Have to agree. I was in the Belfast store on Boxing Day and it was grim. It was nearly all cheap DVD box sets and stocking fillers. There was a vinyl section on the ground floor but it was sale stock and the usual suspects (Jeff Buckley Grace, Amy Winehouse etc). I went upstairs looking for a few things and there was nothing I wanted in stock. Lots of people milling around but nobody buying. Having been an HMV assistant in a past life it’s really lost it’s soul but that’s probably a reflection of the high street as a whole. I winged my way down to Bending Sound in Bangor and picked up some Neil Young and Jesus and Mary Chain on vinyl for a great price. There’s a great vibe and some good chat, neither of which seemed to be on offer in HMV.

      • Mark says:

        A sad day indeed! I fully agree with you! I live in Melbourne, Australia and have seen this scenario acted out so many times in so many retail areas.
        Our problems is too much retail, clothing, music,food, white goods,cars, coffee shops {don’t get me started} replicating each other.
        Dvds and Cd’s can be bought second hand for 5-10 AUS$ a lot of the time.
        Our retail is no longer a Professional Industry, poor pay often cash in hand and a low standard of Customer Service combined with street congestion and hefty council parking fines as well as parking fees make Online Recreational Shopping the future.
        Who doesn’t love a box,parcel waiting at the door.
        Always look forward to your e-mails now we get half the service back with amazon.

        • peter chrisp says:

          Mark have to agree i am also in Melbourne, i remember ages ago we used to have a good record store but my only concern at the time the prices were a little over the top. Uncertain but do you remember Gaslight Records at the other end of Bourke Street? Although i am going back in ’78 an import record store called Pop Inn? As you say we now have JB & i guess not as huge as Amazon but that’s the only record store that we have? And in this day & age as i live in Oakleigh area i have never seen so many damned coffee shops in my whole life, every shop is a coffee shop!

  64. poptones says:

    Just received the Guardian update about HMV. After the collapse or Tower records and Virgin stores, I hope HMV physical stores will remain open (never liked their web site). Lots of good record stores in London (Rough Trader, Sister Ray, etc.) but HMV’s still a big player in the market and the rest if the UK. As I’ve been living in Paris and London, I noticed that Fnac (french equivalent of HMV) is still doing well because they added foreign investors (from Germany) and have diversified services and products. They sell music, books, DVD/BR, games but also tvs, hifi, cameras, phones, etc. They also reduced CDs and DVDs shelves and replaced them with vinyl and other trending products.

  65. Tony O says:

    These days the shops that try to be all things to all people will struggle, if they specialised and created a club atmosphere they might have lasted a bit longer. However the high street is dead for the most part, super markets and online retailers are to blame if they are to blame, the last time i bought anything in HMV when it was available elsewhere was 2014 and it was not for the want of trying. My local vinyl store closed down this year, i approached them 3 times with a proposition for them to give me a better deal as i was buying on line with postage (about 30k per year) and it was still cheaper and they showed no interest. I appreciate bricks and mortar stores have other expenses to consider but I think this is the way things are now.

  66. gary oliver says:

    More sad news for the high street. good luck to all the staff for the future

    • SimonH says:

      Agree, was in today here in Bristol and the staff member I spoke to was quite upset as she said she loves working there.
      According to some reports their music sales held up but it seems it was DVDs than caused the big problem.
      I think it’s an exaggeration to say ‘no one buys standard cds’ there’s still some life in the market yet, but not sure for how long.
      I reckon at best they will survive but with a drastically reduced number of shops.

  67. BritinDetroit says:

    And the niche buyers that orbit SDE, product and pricing, live in the planet that is amazon. Just the way it is.

    Lament the old Virgin Records, Our Price , WHSmith and HMV but the chain high street record stores lacked an identity that could sustain. Yea we all went there way back when but that really was way back when. Best case HMV were a showroom for product and pricing and then an order from amazon from the trusty iphone

    Now where are Harmony House and Full Moon Records ….oh, they are gone too

  68. MusicFan says:

    This is very bad news and very sad indeed :-(

    These days I find 8/10 items from Amazon are either wrong or severely damaged.

    I’ve been so fed up with Amazon that I now buy most of my items from HMV. In fact I have found HMV to be either the same price of Amazon or slightly cheaper. But I do prefer being able to pick my own item from the shelf so I know I am getting a mint item. Even when I have purchased items from the HMV website the items have arrived super fast and in immaculate condition.

    Also I have a massive issue with Amazon… I am fed up with receiving items 1 or 2 weeks AFTER the release date even though I pre-order new releases many months in advance.

    If HMV goes then I’ll need to find an alternative to Amazon. If Amazon don’t have any competition then there will be no incentive for them to improve their poor service.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      80% of deliveries from Amazon are ‘wrong’ or ‘severely’ damaged?! Surely exaggeration. My experience is that I’ve had nothing ‘wrong’ in the last 12 months and in terms of damage maybe the odd creased spine in a digi-pack. I’ve never had anything from I’d describe as ‘Severely’ damaged and I’ve been using Amazon for 18 years. They’re not perfect, but no one would be using them if 80% of orders were as you describe.

      • J says:

        That’s right Paul. I have had 1 mangled item in the last 3 years. This is just pulling numbers out of thin air

        • Eric says:

          It maybe depends on location; @MusicFan’s strike-rate of spoiled packages is roughly the same as mine. I get about 1 in 3 that are okay. Why would we make it up?

          People keep using Amazon either because they are not fussed about imperfections/damage to an item they’ve paid as much as 40 or 50 quid for, or they’re happy to keep returning them in the hope that the 1 in 3 ratio means they get an okay copy at the third attempt.


      • paul cutts says:

        I use Amazon a lot and with regards to cd music they are usually packaged well with little damage. Vinyl is a lottery about half is damaged in some way either by the vinyl splitting the sleeves or being creased or bashed in corners etc and this is due to the warehouse and delivery people just chucking them around and the packaging too loose.
        I returned a number of high priced books earlier in the year because when they arrived they were in a box far too big for the purpose with an additional scrap of paper and were allowed to move about in the box and get scratched and bashed, I complained each time and they sent another and another and another until I got one that was OK, they didn’t even want the damaged one back so that shows you how much they give a damn.
        Sorry I know this has little to do with the main thread here and I hope HMV can survive once again. being of a certain age I remember spending much of my earlier years moochiing around HMV and record stores. Now it is so much easier to come to SDE and find out whats what and go to Amazon, The evil empire I know but needs must.
        HMV should revert to just selling music, no films or TV stuff just cd and vinyl like the old days.

      • Paul Murphy says:

        Did you order a Suede ‘Studio Albums 93 – 16’ box Paul? Like many others mine came in a well-oversized box with just the usual paper that reminds me of the Army-issue toilet paper we got on exercises back in the 70s on top of it as ‘protection’. Needless to say it did not survive the journey to my door intact, indeed with that packaging it would not have survived a journey from the van to my door undamaged. That was just the most recent of many that came like that – Ian Dury vinyl box, T.Rex Vinyl Singles box spring to mind straight away. Can’t fault Amazon on CD and DVD orders [some 150 in the last 6 months], although their recent decision to change from the smaller card A5 packaging to an A4 white bubble envelope for CDs does not bode well for either jewel cases, or the environment. Impeccable customer service though, which, much though I dislike to say it, you don’t find on offer, special or otherwise, at my own local HMV [Y….L], one realises it is fast and furious in there – and that is just some of the customers – and you’ve got a 4-hour contract at minimum wage, but jeez, you’d get more eye-contact and positive body language from a poster some days. Having said that, my 6-year-old son loves going in there, and just this morning asked why I bought my Fleetwood Mac ‘Don’t Stop’ 3-CD on Amazon instead of “going to the big music shop.” The answer – it’s only £7.99, it’ll be here tomorrow, I don’t have to drive 6 miles, pay a fortune to park, get wet from the rain and trip over sleeping drunks in bordered-up shop doorways to get it – cut little ice.

      • Chris Merritt says:

        Hi Paul – I don’t know if this is because it is coming from so far away (I live in California) – but I’d say 80% of items I’ve ordered from Amazon UK arrive with some form of damage – but most of my US Amazon orders arrive in fine condition. Don’t know if it is the people working in the warehouses to blame or the post office (either UK or US) – but that’s been my experience.

        • Derek Langsford says:

          I am also in California and buy new music on CD, including boxed sets, almost exclusively from Amazon UK, DE, and CA. I’ve had pretty good luck with virtually nothing getting damaged beyond a cracked jewel case now an then. Boxed sets are double boxed to prevent damage en route. I’ve had only one really bad experience over 15+ years when ordering the Queen remastered CDs, in Superjewel cases. Had several arrive broken and all Amazon UK would do was refund me £1 per disc which wasn’t even enough to cover replacement of the cases. Overall I have been satisfied with their service although using Ascendia has slowed delivery considerably.

    • Keith says:


      I absolutely agree with you , majority of vinyl I buy from amazon turns up damaged, I recently bought the Sparks coloured vinyl whomp that sucker , they sent it 3 times all turned up badly bent creased sleeves . I have also had vinyl turn up without any packing with just an address sticker on the front. That just goes straight back ,ordered from reflex in Newcastle came quickly in perfect condition. I have had no end of arguments with amazon about pre orders , I have ordered 3 months in advance and still don’t receive my item. And it shows the item is in stock up to the day of release and beyond. I have now told them I will not order anything on pre order. I’m even considering giving up on them for music. I find the local record store and places like banquet records a little more expensive sometimes but well worth it as I’ve never had to return anything to them. I would probably say out of everything I order not just including music it’s probably about 5 out of 10 has to go back

      • Andrew M says:

        Re. Amazon

        I would put the figure at around 40% and I’ve ordered 300 items from them this year alone.

        • Chris Squires says:

          I guess it’s all about different experiences.

          And different countries.

          UK, I have never had the wrong item sent, never had an item turn up more than a day late and then only rarely is anything late at all. Only issues I have ever had have been with limited edition stock not being sent because they were struggling with supply (Belinda Carlisle, Pete Shelley). Damaged items? Less than 10% over the last year from hundreds and hundreds of deliveries (So “prime” paid for itself by March). I have no idea how anyone would get 80% damaged / wrong from their own country’s amazon. Musicfan must be Unlucky Alf from the Fast Show or exaggerating a wee bit.

          I have found over the years that people who intrinsically don’t like amazon because of their business model know lots of people who have similar awful experiences. Funny that.

          I’m far from a fan of Amazon and was “THAT” close to ditching prime this week, but kept it as my daughter uses it a lot too for the films / video. So as a neutral, it’s pretty much spot on however much I want it to be crap.

  69. Magoo says:

    Go spend some cash in HMV today, tomorrow, ASAP.

  70. Phil says:

    All this talk of Amazon – but didn’t HMV overtake Amazon in terms of market share for physical sales this year? So they were seemingly coping OK with that particular threat. The problem is that the overall physical market is shrinking at a much faster rate.
    Surely no one is buying standard DVDs (or even standard CDs) these days so if they are to bounce back again they probably need to focus more on what does sell (and is likely to continue to sell). Perhaps smaller stores concentrating on vinyl, special editions and higher end blu-ray and 4K movies?

  71. Darren Vickers says:

    If KPMG have been appointed thay are stuffed.
    Parasites praying on companies in trouble

  72. Darren Vickers says:

    HMV need to stop selling stupid little toys, DVD, books, t shirts and concentrate on good value (priced) albums, CD instead of trying to sell everything like online stores.
    Music is what they are known for, get back to value for money basics

    • Ben Williams says:

      They do sell a lot of odd things that aren’t really worthwhile and some of their in-store prices are bizzare and perhaps there vinyl racks could be better managed but this was a place that allowed us to see the music. If you wanted to find an album usually they had it on CD.

      I wish there online store will continue but who knows.

      A shame for all the staff – I know exactly how it feels to be told you’re losing your job this year.

      If enough people want physical media, there will always be a market but it may just have to cost a little more.


  73. Robert says:

    Such a shame when a long time retailer may disappear.
    Oddly, around the Tampa Bay, Florida market we must
    have 15 or so indie music stores- much more than say 5 years ago.
    The only big store is Best Buy which I haven’t been in one in years.
    The locals tend to specialize in more than just music.
    Sound Exchange has 3 locations and each location has a huge selection
    of vinyl, dvds, blu-ray, books, comic books, vintage stereo equipment , posters and the largest selection of cds.
    Mojo Books in Tampa has a great selection of new and used vinyl and one of the best selections in out of the ordinary books.
    Planet Retro has a huge selection of used vinyl, new vinyl, and cds.
    Bananas has probably the largest selection of vinyl in the U.S. with a warehouse full.
    Most do mail order through discogs and if one is to survive then they have to branch out
    so not to rely on one product to make ends meet. I wouldn’t be surprised if another 5 stores popped up in this area over the next few years. At least in my experiences, the stores that Ive seen fail or just give up are the ones that wouldn’t adapt. Ive seen quality stores that refused to sell online as they considered it a hassle or they prefer to sell to locals. Thats noble of them but I think the locals would be fine with them selling online if it meant they’d stay open.
    Nowadays it seems The hardest thing these stores face isn’t sales but trying to buy quality used product.
    I probably buy 45% locally, 45% discogs and 10% on Amazon.

    • Glen says:

      Every once in a long while I’ll trek over from Orlando to troll the shops.

      I’m aware of the six you mention. What are the others?

  74. Joe Atari says:

    It should be noted that whilst the physical music market has seen some buoynce in recent years, HMV has had no alernative but to give major prominence to DVDS and Games in recent years and I can imagine these are in even sharper decline than CDs. There’s simply no reason for a modern gamer (or film fan) to own a physical product, especially as gaming becomes so interactive. The Bond St. flagship branch of HMV is very comprehensive for CDs and Vinyl, with deluxe editions stocked when there’s any reasonable demand at all. That said, I have almost completed my collection of even deluxe editions. I’m not really a vinyl collector as reissues are, necessarily, incredibly overpriced. In the 90s vinyl retailed around £10, now its £25. There is only so much material, on a grand scale, left to remaster. I worked for HMV as albums buyer for three years several years ago. I’m sad to see it decline, and possibly, Fopp as well? That is I believe, a subsidiary of HMV now? I will totally miss the endless browsing in a physical store, but really, even for a voracious buyer like me, a line has to be drawn somewhere. I think HMV has done amazingly to hold out against Amazon, but for collectors even Amazon holds the trump card, because somewhere in the world, they can find the obscure item they want.

  75. John A says:

    This is sad news as I have previously shopped at HMV for longer than I can remember. The one thing that always rankles with me about HMV is that you can guarantee the day after any musician has died, suddenly their albums are highlighted on a plinth end and played throughout the store for days on end. Reactive rather than proactive pretty much sums them up. Very sorry for the staff who at my local branch are a good bunch.

  76. Carl says:

    It will be a sad day when they go , since the age of 17 they used to take nearly all my wages , so an end to physical browsing is really depressing.

  77. Jan says:

    Rather sad.
    I’m wondering if a smaller store chain is the better model, with lower overheads. Perhaps someone will buy the Fopp stores off HMV?
    Yes, Amazon is not helping the stores but they price matched most of the HMV prices, and if they close, there will be no competition for Amazon to deal with.
    The more there are special exclusives for small stores and indies, the better.

  78. Causeway Ray says:

    In the last week or so, HMV has had to suddenly shutter all of its stores here in Hong Kong, due to allegedly owing millions of dollars in back rent. Employees showed up to work one morning only to learn their workplace was closing with no notice. Customers lined up outside but were not allowed in.

    It’s a sad state of affairs. There are still a few bricks-and-mortar CD shops left in Hong Kong (CD Warehouse may be the last notable chain, in addition to a handful of good independent shops), but Japan is fast becoming Asia’s last gasp for the music collector.

    • Noel says:

      I think HMV in HK did not have to end like that. I know HK Records didn’t survive the digital tide by being a small-medium size record store with just a small handful of locations (2 or 3?), and they were a proper record store. Siu and his group must take most of the blame by drastically changing HMV as we know beyond recognition. It literally sells everything: food, figures, electronic, toys, motorcycle and a small amount of CDs/Dvds/VInyl. Staff who had a degree of knowledge about mainstream/indie music were gone and not replaced. It’s truly lost its identity as a music shop. The number of people who buy physical copies might have been dwindling over the years, but there is still a core of people who prefer hard copies, and even they would turn their heads away .

      I live overseas but I heard HMV HK didn’t even stock Suede’s new album.

      I would say, death by a thousand cuts, but mostly self inflicted.

  79. jon says:

    i know for me being in America in Texas, thru the years so many times the brick and motar stores didnt have what i wanted and theyd have to order it and it would take them 2 weeks to get, then the online stores began growing and i was able to get what i wanted in half the time or less that it took the brick store to get and at lower cost, now in my area theres only best buy and all they sell now is modest selection of vinyl, so i have to buy online.

  80. Reed says:

    I still prefer to have a physical copy of music/movies on CD or DVD, but I find myself buying less and less these days. I’m in my late 50’s and don’t care for today’s music so I only purchase boxed sets of albums that I loved growing up with in the 60’s and 70’s. Same with Blu-ray and DVD discs. I only purchase a Blu-ray if it is a restored favorite movie of mine. I don’t even bother the UHD Blu-ray as most of the movies released are super hero movies, which do not interest me. Having said that, my trips to brick and mortar stores (any that are left), have ceased.

    • Michael says:

      I’m much the same. At 53, my real interest now lies in reissues of much loved albums from my 20s and 30s (hence my daily visits to this wonderful site) and with movies, its remasters of classic through to 70s films which is why, now Amazon has been unfairly taken from Australia, I go through Arrow, Indicator, and BFI. As much as I love to browse in a physical environment, JB Hi Fi is the only real option here (they regularly have 20% sales for the very occasional new films I’d like to own) aside from a few niche import stores. Like you Reed, I’m buying less, and you won’t catch me buying any of that superhero nonsense or UHD either.

  81. Neil says:

    Looking at purehmv the message is showing Under Maintenance i wonder if it will come back as i have points to use up. Maybe if the prices in their stores reflected the prices they charge online which is a lot cheaper in most cases then they might not have ended up in this mess again.

  82. Scott says:

    I find this disheartening. Having just launched my reissue label this year, I may have started a little too late. And the fact that I focus on New Wave and Classic Alt just makes my niche even smaller. And though I’ve had good sales on my recent Visage reissue, some of the other lesser known releases have me wondering if I will even be able to move these small pressings of around 1000 units.

    But it’s not all just streaming to blame, though that’s a huge reason. I recently Googled some of my releases and found them on torrent sites. That doesn’t help a new small business with good intentions on offering quality physical products. As much as I hope I can somewhat succeed in this climate, I think I will re-evaluate in a year to see if I should bother sinking money in products that only a very small amount of fans are willing to shell out $10-$14 for.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Scott, please get in touch because I’d like to support your future endeavours via the SDE shop.

      • Scott says:

        Thanks Paul, I’ve just sent you an email.

        • Trash says:

          Hi Scott –
          Out of interest – what is/was the Visage reissue?

          As for HMV – I thought that already went under once. I was surprised when they reappeared in their ‘old’ store on Oxford st.
          Sad to see them go BUT I am definitely guilty of ordering more and more stuff online due to convenience.

          • Scott says:

            My Visage release is the debut album dynamically remastered from original tapes and including 7 bonus tracks. It’s available from the Rubellan Remasters website, Amazon and other places as well. I’m trying for other Visage releases in 2019.

      • Auntie Sabrina says:

        I have the Visage Rubellan Remaster and it is very good indeed. Best of luck with all future endeavours.

    • Will says:

      Hi Scott – your Visage reissue was excellent so I hope you continue.
      It was pretty expensive to get in the UK though – around £18 for a single cd so I would imagine that would turn a lot of people off buying from you outside the U.S. Was that for licensing reasons?

      • Scott says:

        Hi Will, yes, they are generally licensed for my territory only (USA) but they eventually become available on import at Amazon UK and other sites, the at import prices.

        • Derek Langsford says:

          Hi Scott,
          Got my Visage from you via Marketplace. Kudos for a job very well done. Was a welcome relief, coming soon after my Soft Cell Boxed Set ear assault. Also appreciate you using the dance mixes instead of extended mixes and the rare Second Steps as bonus tracks. Look forward to more Visage and other music from you.

          • Trash says:

            Hi Scott –

            Finally (after much googling) I managed to track down the Visage reissue – I really should have just checked back on this thread but when I originally looked back I couldn’t see any replies.
            Anyway I am listening to it as I type and I am very much enjoying it. The first Visage album has been long-overdue for a remastered/expanded release and it’s great having all the extra tracks (especially the standard version of ‘We Move’ which hardly ever seems to get an outing – usually compilations feature the 12″ mix).
            Good luck with other projects – let us know on here (assuming Paul is okay with that).

  83. Under The Pink says:

    Worst news for any music lover :(

    Being a traditional physical buyer, I hate to see online shopping overtaking the market for the obvious reasons of convenience. Visiting a physical store has been and IS the right and proper way to do shopping. Same thing when it comes to purchasing music.

    Personally, I buy 50-50 from HMV and amazon. I enjoy searching for music, touching the actual product, taking something back home. Since the Our Price, Woolworths, Virgin Megastores, WH Smith, and Tower Records days, HMV remains my favourite.

    I wish that HMV continues to be present in the High Street for decades, it is part of the English culture, please let’s all support them!

    • John 79 says:

      I totally agree with this statement,I also buy 25% online and 75% between HMV and my local indie store Action Records, I love to look around every week with anticipation at what new is instore,I have also earned a great deal of loyalty points at HMV over the years,which I would hate to lose.
      I am a physical release only fan,I actually want to see and touch the art and music I have bought and downloads just don’t do it for me.
      I honestly hope they can find a solution to this message they find themselves in.

    • RJS says:

      “Visiting a physical store has been and IS the right and proper way to do shopping”

      Strange comment! You’re not Mike Ashley are you?

  84. Phil says:

    Record companies, and artists, aren’t innocent in all this either – a fair chunk of the remaining physical market is now taken up by direct sales of signed/deluxe editions that cut out the retailers completely. Obviously that increases the profit margin for the artist but screws the likes of HMV.

    Sad day, especially as the turnaround of HMV had been such a success story, but there’s only so much they can do when their market is dying,

  85. Jeremy says:

    When the No. 1 single in the land is ‘We Built This City on Sausage Rolls’ it’s time to close down the main high street music retailer. Good music, SDE music, will survive without them. Still, after 98 years, it’s sad to see them go.

  86. RJS says:

    Unless you have a HMV on your doorstep, it’s easier to order something from Amazon and, if you have Amazon Prime membership, usually have it delivered to your door within 24 hours. That’s what’s killing HMV. Amazon also competes with them price wise and and they are the biggest record shop in the world, albeit virtual. I still buy a few CDs from HMV every year if I happen to be in town and have half an hour to kill whilst my girlfriend goes shopping for clothes but they rarely sell the music I want anyway.

  87. John says:

    It is very sad news for the music industry.What is vital for record stores is to have major releases all around the year and not just the weeks leading up to Christmas.
    The market is changing rapidly and if you see the CD sales for new artists are dissapointing.
    Furthermore all the major artists like Drake or Cardi B or Jay Z/Beyonce must give something to the physical sector.When they choose to release music first digitally and a month later physically, this can only send away people from the physical stores.Also superdeluxe editions and special re releases are good for music fans like us but they will not save the music stores.They are overpriced are only for super fans. Music industry must support artists like Adele or Ed Sheeran or to create superstars like Madonna or Michael Jackson, artists that people want to own their music and not just listen to some songs online for a week or a month.Also if they will not create new superstars they will not have any artists to rerelease their stuff years later.

  88. GHB says:

    Very sorry to hear this – very difficult times for the staff, another place to browse likely to go, and with implications for competition in the marketplace (and for the high street more generally). Don’t they own Fopp too? If so, will they be wrapped up in the ‘administration’, and hence go too? That would be a double blow for many if us here I suspect …….

    • John O'B says:

      Horrible news. I often browse in HMV and make the odd purchase but luckily we have a superb independent record shop in Swansea (Derricks) where vinyl is consistently cheaper than both Amazon and HMV. I absolutely will not buy from Amazon, they have a depot in Swansea where staff conditions are allegedly very poor.The loss of HMV will further reinforce Amazons monopoly leading to price rises. The consumer will inevitably lose.

  89. stevie mcqueen says:

    it’s just a sign of the (BAD) times unfortunately the music industry is a barron landscape kids and teenagers don’t buy physical releases like i did back in the 80’s and 90’s and people my age ( late 40’s) upwards are simply not interested in online music if i had a pound for everyone who tells me ” that’s just the way the world is now” i’d be well off!!!! the world is just the way it is because nobody cares anymore, it’s an uncaring greedy society we live in nowadays.

  90. Tim-Meh says:

    Formats and preference in the 21st century not to mention Amazon’s near monopoly on retail are contributing factors but HMV has been on the verge of collapse for the last 15 years more due to the sky high rents their stores command on the high street more so than anything else, and the unwillingness of greedy investment landlords unwilling to regear HMVs leases.

  91. Phil says:

    We are all to blame. I personally won’t buy anything from amazon. As an employer thay are horrendous I would personally pay more or go without than use amazon. Unfortunately this is not the case with most shoppers so while amazon gets stronger the rest of the retail sector gets weaker.

  92. Sean says:

    I’ve just heard some woman in the industry (no idea which) on 6 Music moaning and commenting that the “user experience” isn’t very good when going in to an HMV store. Way to go; kick a company when it’s down why don’t you! Personally, I wanted the recent This Mortal Coil ‘It’ll End In Tears’ CD package the day it came out – I achieved this flawlessly with the help of my local HMV being open – and existing. Thank goodness for HMV.

  93. Chris Squires says:

    When was the last time anyone under 25 actually paid for music or film? They will have a small window of going to the cinema for social reasons, rite of passage and all that. They might go and see a band or artist live. But they will not pay for music and film in the real world. Which hits HMV hard when the type of people (under 25 / 30) who might go to a town centre will not spend money in your shop. We have a family spotify account £15 a month for three users and a family netflix account for £9.99 and then amazon prime. My elder daughter who lives in New Zealand can leach of the UK accounts, the younger in London can do the same so all three of us get as much music and film as we want for £25 a month. I would be spending that on music in 1983! Every penny from my Saturday job. So a whole new generation is spending £50 on Vans or Converse without blinking an eyelid, but just would never consider music as a way to spend their own money. That’s millions and bang, there goes your model. They don’t even buy music from amazon. It’s just us… us here…. on SDE. That’s it…. plus a granny who gets bought Russell Watson or Alfie Boe at Christmas.

    Sad but utterly predictable.

  94. stevie says:

    it’s 2018 not 1990 it’s a whole new generation there is no way kids and teens of today can ever be called old school and nobody over the age of 45 is interested in buying physical releases anymore because the music industry is a Barron landscape bought the t shirt seen it done it etc, it’s simply just a sign of the times. i am certainly not interested in music of 2018.

    • Mr P says:

      Speak for yourself!
      I’m 58 and physical product is still my preferred format.
      The idea of just listening to music without the complete package I.e. sleeve, info etc isn’t for me and no doubt most of the contributors here

    • Francis says:

      I am 54 and ONLY purchase physical formats and will continue to do so until they are just no longer available to buy, so I do not know where you are getting your incorrect fact regarding those of us over the age 45 not being interested in physical releases anymore. I have NO interest in purchasing non-physical music or films via downloads from iTunes, Amazon or Netflix. They day physical formats are no longer able to buy and collect, the music and film industry will not be getting any of my money (I would rather download it all for free than pay for an inferior product to that of the physical format). Also, unlike you, I am interested in music of 2018 and music of years to come. You must be listening to the wrong radio stations to not hear all the good music there is right now.

    • Marcus Fahrman says:

      I’m over 45 and constantly buy vinyl and I know a lot of people who do.

  95. Andrew Scoffin says:

    I do lots of car boots and charity shops looking for mainly vinyl but always look through CDs and DVDs, sellers can’t give DVDs away and CDs are really cheap and in vast numbers. however you cannot say that about vinyl which the uneducated think is all worth a fortune. HMV clearly suffering from less people buying DVDs and I guess CDs.

  96. Glen Schol says:

    HMV closed in Canada last year for basically the same reasons.

    Those who think vinyl will keep these stores alive are sadly mistaken. Vinyl is such a small part of music purchases nevermind they are almost twice the price of a CD which turn many music fans off.

    People want to stream their movies & music on their smart devices at home or phones. They don’t want to own it anymore.

    • John says:

      I agree. Vinyl could boost the record stores, if they had new artists to release records. When you are searching the vinyl racks, the majority of products are from 20 years ago.

      • Marcus Fahrman says:

        Not true. You can count on one hand new releases that does not get the vinyl treatment. In fact, lots of new releases comes in MULTIPLE vinyl variants.

  97. Darren Wells says:

    Is Fopp in the same boat, as it’s owned by HMV?

  98. Ronnie says:

    It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I DON’T feel fine)

  99. Tim Brooks says:

    One big real concern is half of the UK SDE deal alerts come as a result of HMV deals which Amazon then price match. No HMV deals will result in many less bargains for us all as Amazon have no competition left in the UK. They have been very much used by the music industry and the loss of instore PA’s will be a great loss. Luckily we have the likes of Rough Trade and Beggars to fill the void but Amazon does not price match these!

  100. Marcel N. says:

    Think Bigger !
    There is a great(er) market outside the U.K.
    Amazon is smart enough to distribute around the globe, that’s the possibility for HMV.
    Here in the Netherlands most record stores are disappeared, so I’m dependent on companies like Amazon.

    • david B. says:

      Plato still going strong though. I often shop at this chain when I’m in Groningen or Zwolle. Velvet Music is another chain I shop at when in Amsterdam

      • Robert says:

        Exactly, in the Netherlands still some very good independent record stores exist like
        Plato, Velvet, Concerto, Sounds and North End Haarlem

      • Kauwgompie says:

        Best place to shop music in Amsterdam is Concerto in the Utrechtse Straat. Steven van Zandt called it the best record store in the world. I bet he has seen a few in the world. I’m hoping to go there in February again when I’m in the NL.

        Lack of competition definitely sucks but not all deal alerts are due to price matching brick and mortar. And let’s face it, the writing has been on the wall for 15 yrs now. My kids listen to a ton of music but all from streaming. They will never buy a cd in their lifetime. I think there may be a place for brick and mortar but not the business model that HMV is after. All those stores are out of business. Tower Records, Virgin Mega Store, HMV, etc. The smaller stores w less overhead could hopefully survive w a business model that combines sales of new, used, vinyl, headphones, record players and sell online.
        I know whenever I go to Concerto in Amsterdam, I always walk away with a collector’s item I found in the used stuff. So it’s always fun to go there.

        • Otto says:

          For me Sounds in Venlo is the best record store in the Netherlands.
          It has a great selection of new and second hand Vinyl. There is a nice stage for small concerts and DJ’s and an added restaurant at the far end of the shop.

  101. Mad Earwig says:

    I used to visit a lot but always left empty handed. It was either the prices being way more expensive than Amazon ( I don’t mind a quid or two but sometimes 30% dearer) or you get to the artist you want to find an empty slot.

    In the Bluewater branch, they had masses of chart music but I was looking for Guided By Voices and Gaslight Anthem so again, an empty slot. Amazon has them all.

    I understand they have to appeal to mass market, but so does Tesco and Asda so they all end up selling the same radio promoted chart stuff at £8.99 making no profit.

    It is sad but I used to spend hundreds in Virgin and Tower as they had the stock, they had the choice.

    HMV had just become a big pile of dvd box sets and chart music that many will pay a streaming company for as the quality isn’t important to them.
    Don’t get get me started on mp3..

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel differently about Netflix and the like when compared to Spotify. I still want to OWN music, physically, even if I listen on Spotify sometimes, whereas with films I’m not really bothered at all anymore, with a few exceptions (Criterion Collection, or the odd special edition). So while with music it is still clearly a challenge for the likes of HMV to compete with Amazon with their high fixed costs, it appears to be the DVD/Blu-ray sector that has specifically caused the damage.

      • RJS says:

        There was a time before the 2013 bail out when HMV stocked more DVDs than CDs. I almost exclusively stream films now and rarely ever buy DVDs. The only exception is second hand ones from Amazon Marketplace that are going for less than a couple of quid (including P&P) and are therefore cheaper than renting a streaming copy. 95+% of films that I watch are a once only viewing for me and when I do buy DVDs, the cases are binned and the discs are stored in a binder.

  102. Bill Hicks says:

    I was in the Canterbury branch on Xmas Eve and it was practically deserted. I know they make all their profits in the last 2 weeks before Xmas so bit didn’t bode well in my mind.

  103. John Orr says:

    Aye, it will be the end of an era if this one finally disappears. A couple of years short of their centenary, Woolworths here in the UK finally closed for good 10 years ago, one year short of theirs. I’ve tried to support my local HMV here in Edinburgh, which moved from Princes Street back in August 2016, down to Ocean Terminal down by Leith docks, for obvious financial reasons inc. rent issues. Edinburgh’s most famous thoroughfare hasn’t been the same for years. Virgin gone, John Menzies gone, WH Smith gone, BHS gone, Littlewoods gone, HMV, the list goes on. Replaced by bloody phone shops and tacky tourist shops. What do you do? Mothercare are closing shops to try and save their brand as well. And don’t forget Dixons and Comet that went too. Yep, not good, just memories left unless there is a complete rethink by the shops that are left, parking issues as well as pricing. Councils need to maybe give them financial incentives, though they’re strapped for cash too..

    • Paul Taylor says:

      I remember HMV and Virgin Megastore two doors apart on Princes Street too John. We also had The Other Record Shop that moved up from St Mary Street, Phoenix (who got most of my money!) on the Royal Mile; Sound Centre/Ripping Records on South Bridge, plus others like Bruce’s and Hot Licks in other parts of Edinburgh. Oh for that kind of choice today!
      (As a footnote, I remember when Bruce’s in Shandwick Place closed down a hand written note rather bitterly stated “GO TO VIRGIN “. That spoke volumes and was maybe a foretelling!)

  104. David Carter says:

    Depressing but hardly surprising news, I have only been in my local HMV a couple of times this year and purchased one vinyl album in a deal for card holders. I rarely buy dvds anymore or cds and others have said why would you pay more plus the trudge into town.

  105. Mr P says:

    A poor business plan contributed to this.
    Anyone could see DVD sales were only going downwards and for so much of their finances to be invested in them was foolhardy.

    Their previous receivership should have shown this and I find it hard to believe that they seriously thought investing so much in DVDs would pay off.

    And as usual the staff bear the brunt if poor decision making

  106. Mr P says:

    Sad news but if u have a gift voucher spend it today

  107. The Golden Age Of Bollocks. says:

    HMV opened a shop in the town where I live just before Christmas.

    I went in and spent around £35. I would have spent more had they stocked the kind of music I buy.

    Am I saddened by this news. Yes I am.

    Do I feel guilty? No. I purchased music and Blurays from HMV on-line, if they had what I wanted. If something I wanted was priced the same as Amazon on HMV, HMV would get my custom.

    Unfortunately Amazon offered better pricing and range of stock. Although I can afford to spend most of my disposable income on music I have to source the best price. I do not have infinite funds, very far from it.

  108. Shaun Bennett says:

    Alas, poor HMV! They knew about music before the industry around it was created!
    Extremely sad times for physical formats.

  109. SIMON says:

    I suspect most of us are guilty of shopping more online, but when it costs me a tenner in petrol to get to the nearest HMV, and then the same again just to park………..

  110. Silica says:

    Having worked at HMV in the past & knowing lots of folks that do. We shouldn’t feel guilty about Super Deluxe Edition, as Paul only puts across the best price. Yes, Amazon have made things difficult for HMV, the simple fact is HMV have price matched Amazon online on many items.

    It’s just a changing of a business model. The World has changed. Local councils charge eye watering business rates & rents. Car parking prices have gone up, so going into town or city is a hassle and an extra expense on top of what you would like to buy in store. Many don’t even have the time to browse anymore. For a new generation, music, art, culture seem less important than fashion and gaming.

    Online can offer free next day delivery on many items, better discounting as they have no stores to pay for. Music & entertainment are not always as popular in uncertain times of economics and politics (Brexit) next year.

    It’s a perfect storm for retail. I was surprised, as i thought HMV had perked up, with exclusives & vinyl coming back. Yet against a tide of a changing World, streaming, downloading, a new generation wishing to eat out, experience things & own less.

    It is a cultural change too, like many of you, i will certainly miss HMV if they go. Yet as someone once said, ‘Times are a changin’. Let’s hope the powers that be can salvage something & keep many of my friends from a terrible start to the New Year …

    We’ll miss you HMV …

    • Tim Brooks says:

      Silica – your statement “the simple fact is HMV have price matched Amazon online on many items” is completely incorrect. It is the other way round – each time HMV do a deal Amazon’s pricing machines jump in and match within hours. HMV are the only online competition left in UK for Amazon.

      • Silica says:

        Point taken, it is open to interpretation (as i am sure they both did look at each others prices, as rival supermarkets, etc, do), i think we all get the general drift … I am more saddened by my friends uncertain futures …

  111. Paul Soper says:

    This is terrible news. For the past few years i’ve bought the majority of music releases from HMV, as their prices have often matched Amazon.

  112. Alastair says:

    This is terrible news. Many towns and cities in the UK will be left with no decent recorded music stores if the company disappears completely. Even though HMV is currently owned by a restructuring company, the staff members are a committed, friendly and informed group, for the most part.
    It was also noticeable that mostly reacted to HMV’s price drops rather than the other way round. As soon as the current HMV sale items became sold out, the equivalent items on Amazon increased again.
    The music industry will survive, but it’s another step in the marginalisation of physical music products.

  113. richard says:

    Not only for HMV, but what about any other recordstore who sells an single album for 21,99 and that same album is 17,99 on Amazon, and that same Amazon says: buy 3 albums, just pay for 2 …. it’s not so hard to make a choice here ….

    Have a good 2019 everyone

    • Mike the Fish says:

      It could be easier to make a choice. Why fund amazon? Why leave more people having to work for them? It’s not a great choice for the economy. Amazon could pay more tax into the system, their staff could be paid and treated better. With zero hours contracts so many people can be paid outside of the tax threshold, which puts more pressure on things that require it, such as schools, local services, etc. It’ll be a shame if HMV goes down: rates could be a lot friendlier for shops, surely a smaller percentage of something is better than a larger percentage of nothing?

    • Randy Metro says:

      As an example here in the US:
      If a record store charged $21.99 and Amazon charged $17.99, Amazon tacks on $4 for shipping. Break even. I know your 21,99 is not equal to my $21.99; but if was….. Amazon Prime free shipping is not worth the $119 yearly fee.

      I shop Ebay. Many (not all) sellers are offering free shipping & prices are generally less than Amazon.

      • richard says:

        Randy, Amazon comes up with many options and deals and above $50 – $60 inside europe it’s free shipping … i bought recently many boxed set items just because it was a buy 3 pay 2 action … anyhow i loved my younger years spending time at recordshops, nowadays i have to travel at least 40 miles for the closest store… Richard

  114. Mij says:

    There’s no doubt it’ll be a blow for the future of the physical format if HMV can’t be saved. I’d have happily continued to buy product there, but my local store was one of the ones that was closed when they last restructured and there isn’t another one close by. It was good that in recent years they’d at least gone back to basics and stocked a deep range of back catalogue at competitive prices.

    Back in 2013, major record companies and distributors pulled out all the stops to support HMV (including, in some cases, allowing them to take stock on consignment terms) as they knew that without them a lot of physical releases just wouldn’t stack up. Take 130 stores out of the equation, combined with the supermarkets also cutting back on the amount of CDs they stock, and certain releases are destined to become download / stream only.

    That said, it probably won’t massively affect the type of releases that the SDE audience likes – it may just result in more companies selling direct to consumer, supported by the power of Amazon, with SDE, Burning Shed, and the remaining indie stores etc. mopping up the rest. Interesting times!

  115. Rich459 says:

    Devastating but inevitable. An institution for me since childhood and probably the only brick and mortar shop I actually go into these days in the absence of any real local record stores.

    However being completely honest more often than not I walk out empty handed due to the price. Especially if you find something obscure in there it’s often significantly more than Amazon or other online avenues, HMV could get away with this 15 or more years ago but not now.

    DVD’s are the same I was looking for something in particular, found it in HMV for £14.99 quickly took out my phone and ordered it from Amazon for £3.98 and delivered free 19 hours later….as much as you want to support these shops you just can’t justify the costs.

  116. Caroline says:

    I am in Fopp and/or HMV every week – due to Amazon’s terrible delivery “service”**, I only use them for larger items and have those sent to a pick-up point. This would be a major blow for me.

    The harsh reality is that consumer pressure has kept prices too low for CDs and DVDs to have a sufficient margin. All attempts to try and get the price of a CD above £10 have failed expect for small numbers of “deluxe” editions with a handful of extra tracks which can be sold for a little more. But any product selling at the same price as it did 15 or 20 years ago is going to struggle to make a profit.

    (** your mileage may vary and all that)

  117. colm47 says:

    Very sad news for the staff and their start to 2019.

    What is to become of the high street?
    Do people on here feel guilty for shopping online?
    Is this site contributing to the demise of retail shops by the online widget links?

    • David Harold says:

      In the USA there’s not been a similar retailer for years. There’s a few places like Best Buy that carry movies and a little music, but for the most part sales are online or small record stores. I think time is up for HMV and its ilk. I’m sorry about it, but if I look at my own spending on music now probably 90% is online.

  118. MARK LEVY says:

    I really hope somebody steps in and saves this one, it really will spell curtains for the music industry.

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