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January 15, 2013 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Last One Falling - photographer Amy Connolly documented the last days of a Liverpool branch of HMV whilst working there in 2011, a stark contrast to the images of the flagship store in the sixties and seventies (previously). The chain yesterday announced it was entering administration after 91 years on the high street.

They are unlikely to be the last store to struggle in 2013.
posted by mippy (29 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting comment I read earlier:

"...and I posted this elsewhere, but this is direct from the manager of Ginger Wildheart [from The Wildhearts], who had great success in the 90s within the label, and is now forging an independent career.

It became standard policy on all rock and metal cds, to essentially double the price and put it on the racks, as soon as it was classed as being non-chart. That alienated a large section of the buying public (real fans) who still want to buy physical product and were then put off by the price tag. Also worth noting they weren't then paying any more to buy it from us - they paid the same price when they sold it at £10 as they did when they sold it at £18. I don't want to dance on HMV's grave, but thats just a crappy thing to do."

I remember this very well, and also how another now-defunct chain used to slap an 'import' label on non-chart singles, so that your copy of Outer Space by Prodigy plus a couple of remixes would set you back £5.99. As I didn't have a CD player until 1996, I well remember paying £15 for a double cassette retrospective of a band that had been gone for nearly a decade by then; Beatles CDs and tapes never dropped below £15.
posted by mippy at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ironically enough, everyone I know goes to HMV because it is cheaper than Amazon, at least for their $5 and $10 DVDs.
posted by jb at 12:59 PM on January 15, 2013


But that's in Canada and, yeah, British CD and DVD prices are insane. You just take off the dollar sign and add a pound sign, just like Starbucks coffee.
posted by jb at 1:00 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What are we going to do with the empty Best Buys and Barnes and Nobles? If your competitors go out of business and you still cant make a living, you have a real problem.

On the other hand, I do not believe that Tusk came on just as he was leaving.
posted by shothotbot at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2013


Where am I ever going to find those giant black CD's now?!?
posted by fairmettle at 1:06 PM on January 15, 2013


Where am I ever going to find those giant black CD's now?!? In the UK Avalanche are still going
posted by Lanark at 1:12 PM on January 15, 2013


Thinking about it, despite the hundreds of pounds poured into the tills since a branch opened in my town in 1999 to when I moved far away from the parental home - in 1999 VHS tapes were £12 each, DVD players were rare in homes then but the discs anything up to £20, and CDs £10-15 and more if they were on indie labels or 'Rock and Metal' - I've only bought something there three times. A copy of Rip It Up And Start Again and The Glasgow School in the Kingston branch in 2005 when I first moved to London. DVDs of Millions, The Others, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day and an Ealing comedy box set for my mum in 2010, walking down Oxford Street in the rain swinging a bag with my new laptop in. And the Reading branch just before Christmas, trying to get an Alabama Shakes CD for MrMippy's dad and failing because it wasn't in stock despite being a hugely critically lauded album, and they told us it had been on backorder for months. (We found it on Amazon, in stock, for £6.)

Sure, it was a chain, but after Our Price and Andy's Records went and the independent music shop with a sideline in records went for a bizarre specialism in classical recordings and happy hardcore cassette box sets, it was amazing to be able to buy Pavement and Tindersticks albums or a tape of Casablanca without having to get the train elsewhere. (For vinyl, it was still Action Records or Rooster in Preston or Piccadilly in Manchester.) I started listening to bands outwith the charts from The Smiths to Sebadoh to De La Soul to Elvis Costello in my mid-teens and if you're on your own journey into musical discovery and in a town where few share your tastes - and before Sweeping The Nation and The Hype Machine let you find things out without leaving the house, maybe we're getting an idea as to why it's been in trouble for a while - being able to browse was a wonderland. I bought the first Hefner album from a branch of HMV in London, without hearing a note of it, based on the cover art and a NME review read in the same shop.
posted by mippy at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2013


I missed out on Fopp, though - they opened a branch in Manchester just as I was unemployed and then on a trainee placement salary, so I couldn't afford to buy anything. By the time I was in London and they reopened there, I'd moved flats too many times to resist the switch to buying digital. (I've never owned a DVD player except the one on my laptop, so I own about four DVDs, but the amount of records, tapes and CDs to be moved every six months or so was a right old headache.) I still like browsing the Cambridge Circus branch if I'm walking down to Covent Garden in my lunch hour, though. Despite their corporate overlords, it feels like a nice, non-snooty indie store and teenage me would not have been able to believe how cheap it is.

A former Fopp tried to go independent near me in Chiswick, but it didn't last long.
posted by mippy at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2013


What is an HMV? Maybe ask the mods to put it in the post text somewhere?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:20 PM on January 15, 2013


His Master's Voice


Iconic picture of dog listening to old-style gramophone.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you don't know what HMV is, why on earth would you waste your time commenting in this thread?
posted by Jehan at 1:24 PM on January 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Sorry, it didn't occur to me to do that first off - we didn't for Borders or Circuit City. If the links aren't sufficiently illuminating I will ask.
posted by mippy at 1:24 PM on January 15, 2013


This is a great blogpost - from August last year! - detailing a HMV insider's attempt to convince them that they were facing competition from the supermarkets.

It's also worth pointing out that the current head of HMV, Trevor Moore, was also the head of Jessops. And before that, he was the head of Comet - all three of which are UK chains that have bitten the dust in the past few months.

Starbucks, however, is still an operating company in the UK, despite not having made a profit. Indeed, in 2009 they filed a £52 million pound loss. This is due to the fact that they use the double Irish Dutch sandwich (NYT). Sadly, you won't be able to buy a delicious Irish and Dutch sandwich, as it's a crafty tax manoeuvre designed to stop taxation.
posted by The River Ivel at 1:33 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Having worked in a music/DVD/game shop (not HMV), I have limited sympathy when one of them goes out of business. The company I worked for folded shortly after I quit, which didn't surprise me. The store was always messy, painfully loud (we were explicitly not allowed to turn down the volume on the stereo pumping out bad music all day), poorly organised, and run by apathetic staff who laboured under incompetent and woefully ignorant management. It was an incredibly unpleasant place to work, and I can only imagine it was an equally unpleasant place to shop.

Maybe HMV is better, but here in Ireland at least, every experience I've had with them (and they're the go-to DVD place for a lot of Dubliners) suggests otherwise.
posted by anaximander at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2013


Great piece from Bob Stanley here about what HMV should have done
posted by fightorflight at 2:31 PM on January 15, 2013


"If you don't know what HMV is, why on earth would you waste your time commenting in this thread?"

Curiosity is a virtue, not a bug.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 2:53 PM on January 15, 2013


Curiosity is a virtue, not a bug.

So's clicking on links to figure out what kind of shop it is. (If you didn't gather it's a shop from the post...)
posted by hoyland at 2:59 PM on January 15, 2013


HMV Ireland is refusing to honour the gift vouchers people bought at Christmas. Which is a shame as they've a ton of consumer good will.

afroblanco: Wikipedia, my friend.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:59 PM on January 15, 2013


For any wondering Canadians:

Canadian HMV not impacted by British version's demise

Apparently our's is doing quite well!
posted by aclevername at 3:05 PM on January 15, 2013


Too bad they were not "too big to fail"; then the taxpayers could have bailed them out
posted by Renoroc at 3:15 PM on January 15, 2013


The fact that they aren't being bailed out was hailed on the news (BBC Radio 4) as a sign of the UK's advancing economy. As if bank accounts and DVDs were in some way the same thing.
posted by The River Ivel at 4:05 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


HMV Ireland is refusing to honour the gift vouchers people bought at Christmas.

Same in UK, and was the same with Comet and Jessops. Once the administrators are in there's no point honouring gift vouchers (and, I presume, no legal requirement) as it doesn't get any money for the creditors.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:37 AM on January 16, 2013


Oh I take it back, apparently Comet did start accepting vouchers, but only after some particularly bad publicity.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:53 AM on January 16, 2013


HMV Ireland is a separate company, apparently, though they're still doing the blue cross thing here.
posted by rollick at 3:35 AM on January 16, 2013


Here's the aforementioned Ginger Wildheart's latest fan-funded project. Warning: riffs.
posted by TheDonF at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2013


Grandad walks out of HMV with computer games after staff refuse to accept gift voucher

(though looking at the games, it seems a bit of a pyrrhic victory)
posted by rollick at 4:50 PM on January 16, 2013


Dublin branch closed for good now, according to their (increasingly sassy) twitter account.
posted by rollick at 5:02 PM on January 16, 2013


Posted this in the Monopoly thread but it works here too:
New UK Monopoly board unveiled

THE OLD ABANDONED COMET (POSSIBLY HAUNTED).
PRICE: £140

POUNDLAND (USED TO BE JESSOPS).
PRICE: £60

"It’s your birthday! You receive an HMV voucher. Collect £0 from each player."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:31 AM on January 22, 2013


LOL SATIRE
posted by mippy at 6:29 AM on January 22, 2013


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