Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Farewell HMV, Blockbuster, Jessops etc etc

The digital revolution has been wreaking havoc on the high street since the New Year. First it was the camera chain, Jessops, then yesterday the only remaining high street music retailer HMV went into administration, and now it's Blockbuster which, in the 80s and 90s was the most popular destination to buy or rent videos (remember them?)
It's sad to see all of them go to the wall, but especially distressing to see the decline and possible fall of His Masters Voice. The first HMV shop was opened in Oxford Street in 1921. It was one of the great record company names in my youth. Elvis Presley had his early 78s and 45s released in the UK on HMV. Many jazz and middle of the road artists saw their records issued on the label, but for rock and roll fans it was also the home at various times to Danny and the Juniors, Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones, Lloyd Price, Fabian, the Olympics, Sam Cooke, Johnny Kidd, Ray Charles, Mike Berry, Dion, Gene Pitney, the Impressions, Brian Hyland, the Shirelles, Tommy Roe, Fats Domino, the Tams, Manfred Mann, B B King and many more.
It's a shame that the likes of Amazon and digital downloads have undermined the market position of all these High Street names. Meanwhile Ebay has meant that everyone, including me, can compete with the remaining independent record shops when it comes to the second hand market.


At 9:45 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, sad to see HMV gone. Their Oxford Street flagship store was always worth a visit, if only just to see what was on the market. Their stock was very comprehensive especially for so called "specialist" music. However, in the last few years their pricing policy was rather haphazard where mid price labels (Jasmine etc) could often be found at £15 or even higher! I do appreciate that with such a comprehensive stock, specialist stuff (not mammoth sellers)can't be discounted, but I sometimes though that it was a case of "stick a price tag on it and see what happens". Anyway, I suppose a buyer might be found.......if not RIP and who's next?
Gordon F

At 11:44 am , Blogger Dave C said...

I popped into the Oxford Street store just over a week ago to check out the sale items. I was surprised to see that practically everything was 25% off; indicative that HMV’s financial situation was reaching a tipping point. The store was quite quiet, but when I returned on Tuesday (the day that the company announced it was going into administration), the place was packed and people were buying. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that notice of administration is the best way to promote a sale.

I agree with Gordon about the pricing policy. Even now, in spite of the 25% discount, some items are still dearer than online. Mind you, I shall be returning next week, if my credit card can stand it! There is talk of some stores being saved, but in what form? I have always enjoyed visiting and buying from the (main) Oxford Street store. The staff in the basement (jazz, blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll etc) are knowledgeable, and, for me, the service has been on a par with John Lewis.


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