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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.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

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Colin

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!

Vincent Ives

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

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!).

PChang

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.

torchomatic

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

torchomatic

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.

John Orr

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.

Terry

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!

Nelson Lee

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

Leemer

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

Snoopi

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

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

Dan L.

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.

Griffin

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.

Straker

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….?

Mad Earwig

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.

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

mino gagliardi

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!

RJS

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.

Ive

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.

Piotr

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.

Geert De Wilde

I stopped using them 15 years ago …

Kai Steinemann

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.

Matthew Hudson

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

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

Auntie Sabrina

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

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-do-i-use-chargeback?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3vabm4LF3wIVA4XVCh0wmQdiEAAYASAAEgKBHPD_BwE

Gareth Pugh

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.

Eric

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.

David Kuznets

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.

Gavaxeman

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

Auntie Sabrina

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…

Glenn

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.

AlexKx

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

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

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?

Dejan

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.

Sam Lowry

Not completely correct: they ship to Ireland and use to have some shops there too.

Roel Glas

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!

smorrissey

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.

Eric Weinraub

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.

Wilfred

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

Ian Harris

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.

Paul Taylor

I remember the glassed off Classical section in the Edinburgh Princes Street store too!

Richard Ratcliffe

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

andy

I shall visit HMV tomorrow to buy something.

Zongadude

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.
:(

Marxisn't

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!

Tim

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.

Rik Skyline

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

Harrison

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.

Kevin Galliford

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.

Ian

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?

Tony O

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

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.

Harrison

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.

Paul Wainwright

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

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

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.

Bill Darlington

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

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

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.

bob peel

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)

Auntie Sabrina

30,000 points got you a £5 discount bob

Bob

Sorry I missed a 0 or 2 think I had 200198 on my last look

Auntie Sabrina

150,000 would have got you a £50 spend, so your’re owed at least a £55 free spend. I just spent my £50 a few weeks ago, HMV are honouring Gift Vouchers so fingers crossed you get your rewards voucher…

Steven

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

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 SDE.com. 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.

Paul W

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

Well said.

Paul Murphy

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.

the_emdee

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?

Mike

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.