HMV Officially Goes Bust

One of the oldest music retailers in the world has gone bust. Does this mark the end for physical products like the CD, and will you miss the century-old company?

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HMV, one of the oldest music retail chains in the world, has announced that it will shut down.

The British-born company which sells music, films and related technology and merchandise has struggled since the rise of online alternatives like Amazon and iTunes.

Now a £300 million bailout loan has been rejected, As a result, the company will go into administration. The loan would have paid off other debts and helped the company restructure itself for the future.

4,000 jobs are now at risk. Any gift vouchers have been made invalid.

We recently reported on HMV's new anti-tattoo policy, which also banned long hair and trainers, despite many HMV staff members being known for their rockish appearance.

While many UK music fans have already turned to online alternatives, many remember their youth exploring HMV stores when physical products were at their peak. Twitter users and celebrities have been mourning the company's closure today.

In one revealing blog post, a former HMV employee describes how he met the company's managing director to warn him about the threat of digital products. "Suddenly I realised the [boss] had stopped the meeting and was visibly angry. 'I have never heard such rubbish', he said." This proved to be HMV's downfall.

Will you miss HMV? Are physical products like the CD truly doomed? Share your reaction in the comments.

183 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ibbo_GD
    Hate the fact that CD's are becoming a thing of the past, and all because people are too lazy to get off their arse...
    mrozzy123fest
    me too. i personally hate downloading music because its SO MUCH FUN getting the physical copy, reading the booklet lyrics, looking at the art etc.....oh well i just started getting records so i guess that will have to do. but i will still buy cds and hope that they stay around
    ShevanelFlip
    idiot, it all i have to say. change is so scary isnt it?
    fuchead
    I hope you die shevanel, what kinda change are looking at? All I see in the past 15 years is the music industry crumble, If you cant sell something with your music/body then they don't want you. It's all about money, kind of a shame. I wish I could go back to the 60's and 70's when music was real and had soul.
    RadioTape
    I think people are full of it when they say it's not about the money, it's all about the music. Without the money you can't do anything in the industry, it's good to have the ideals of it but selling out is not a problem so long as you aren't being taken for a ride and do enjoy doing it at the same time.
    Carl6661
    Well said, RadioTape. Music was as much about money back in the 60's and 70's as much as it is today. What annoys me most is when people whine about music not being 'what it used to be' or how hard they think it is to find good music these days - You have the internet with millions, if not billions of songs on it and music is easier to get than ever, and yet they whine on about how hard it is to find good music these days.
    THE ROZERS
    I hate the way people these days thinl they are entitled to free music that others have put effort in. And buying 1 song per album From itunes etc. still gives less money than whole albums. At the end of the day, no matter how tr00 you are, who doesnt want to make a living being a musician.
    Tylern1
    For me it's all about the music, but I agree at some point you have to think about the money so you can afford to still make music you love. Playing gigs out of town and buying merch to sell can get really expensive if you don't get paid, the next thing you know, you're pawning your instrument to pay rent!
    remotenightowl
    OK, the 70's was better musically, but you do realize greed back then was just as bad if not worse, just do research on Black Sabbath alone and how they got screwed out of money for years between labels, lawyers, promoters and producers...
    Grif22
    Why don't you wait another 20 years so other people can do the hard work of finding the best of this era for you? Just like in the '60s and '70s, I might add. Other than the monster acts(Think The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc. etc. that found mainstream popularity at the time), most of what we hear today and look back on fondly is the stuff that's left after everyone forgot all the crap that was also released in that time. The fact is that there always has, and always will be good music, and you often have to go out of your way to find it. You can't just wait for pop music stations or the iTunes "Single of the week" to bring it to you.
    lithium_boy
    amazing! GET OUT OF MY BRAIN MAN!!! IT'S STARTING TO SMELL LIKE COTTAGE CHEESE SINCE YOU LEFT!! all kidding aside, this notion that the 70's and 60's were more substantal then now is just plain wrong. and you sir put that perfectly. Music is just as strong as ever, you just have to discover it for yourself. Theres always someone pushing the limits and kicking ass at it.
    crazysam23_Atax
    1) What none of us who live today see is that the '60s and '70s had plenty of groups that were "look-based". 2) The music industry isn't crumbling; if anything, it's morphing from being all about the record companies to being all about the artists themselves.
    robo37
    As much as it annoys me to see everyone moan and groan whenever the slightest hint of something new comes up, leaving people to sit on there backside all day and just pick the most famous one or two tracks off an album kind of defeats the purpose of the group making the album in the first place, the whole concept of the album is just left to ruin. And then there's the artwork - am I the only one who starts to get into the album just by flicking through the artwork?
    Nitnatsnok
    Honestly none of that is affected by digitization. If people wanted the entire album/artwork they can get it. If they don't the don't have to. The only difference now is you have a choice.
    Kueller917
    They have a choice, yeah, but the choice has been reflecting over album making as a whole. Not much of a point in putting much effort into an album when people can buy individual tracks. Of course there's still many people making amazing albums but there's also just as many that have good songs but are just devoid of any flow. I'm all for online files and digital age and everything but I never liked the song-by-song style of purchasing.
    CoolMcAwesome
    I have no sympathy for dead formats. Sure cd's were cool when bands actually put work into the cover, artwork inside, had LYRICS inside, and something worth looking at. Now it is just a bunch of bullshit inside - bullshit like no artwork, no lyrics (as if new aged lyrics were any good anyway!), no band pic, etc. So you know what, **** cds. Band put more into Vinyls these days ffs!
    Toasted_Waffelz
    What on earth kind of CDs are you buying? Every single CD I've bought in the last 5 years, many of which were new at the time, has had lyrics (when applicable) and awesome artwork in the booklet.
    link no1
    All my CD's have lyrics and artwork and I have alot of CD's by new bands (new meaning first album within the past 5 years) I don't know what the hell you're listening to but I think that is just a case of 'lazy bands'.
    Botti13
    that's a stupid comment of someone living in the past. Yes, CD's do have that classic charm, but digital has a lot of clear advantages, you can't blame the market for choosing what they think is right
    Wicer
    Or the fact that digital downloads are less money.. (at least where I live because digital downloads seem to be exempt from taxes)
    yoman297
    man i used to love just looking through the aisles and pick up random stuff that i heard was good.
    bornIIhula
    Yeah but vinyl is making a huge comeback. That's a very good thing.
    AnnihilationUK
    Fair point vinyl is making a comeback, but when it comes to it, you can't buy vinyls in every store. Nor can you rip them to MP3. Well you CAN rip them to MP3 format, but when you do rip them to Mp3 format, everything is back to digital, which provides the same problem as all CD's becoming digital. It's a sad, nasty circle that unfortunately we'e going to have to get used to.
    Charlie4
    Unfortunately we live in an age of digital hoarding - more music, movies etc. I think this also leads to a lesser appreciation of the art - having 50 quality cd's/lp's as opposed to 50 000. The consumer is responsible or at least should be responsible. If you pirate albums then record labels, the good ones at least, suffer such as Roadrunner etc. leading to less funds for bands to make and promote their music. Record labels get swallowed up by bigger ones leading to even more generic music being made. Quality over quantity. ALWAYS.
    Dynamight
    If everyone had your mentality we'd still be in the stone age.
    zomgguitarz1234
    Or instead of making laser beams we'd have laser beam swords because swords have more style than guns, and be able to reflect the laser beam guns laser beams back at people and use the force and blow up planets and shit. Or we could just have laser beam guns.
    justjoshuaaa
    Seconded. There will always be people like me who will buy CDs but there's no promise that they'll make CDs forever.
    jared.burke4
    There's a price to be paid for having things convenient, used to be a man had to go to the store to buy himself a collection of CDs, but men got lazy they wanted their CDs delivered right to their PC, only problem was the guy who made iTunes ended up F***king your wife.
    Omniscient G
    Or because CDs are much less convenient than digital downloads... It's the same reason why vinyls became obsolete when CDs became widespread.
    xonty
    I agree. I live in a rural area and now that they've shut down HMV, the nearest CD shop that has a section for Rock is now a 3 hour drive away instead of a 10 minute drive...
    bkeller8345
    I don't mind for CD's too much, but Vinyl records are making a slow comeback (fortunately) but yes, digital music does encourage much laziness.
    BeardedWonder91
    Nice misleading title. As an HMV employee, on the verge of having the company BOUGHT-OUT AND SAVED, it's not cool to see inaccurate crap like this. Just for the sake of views and to stoke the fire...
    peppersghost08
    Last time I went into HMV, I bought a Black Sabbath album, an Electric Wizard album and an Orange Goblin album. The time before that, they let me test out a docking station by blasting out Devin Townsend around the shop. Definitely going to miss this place, it was the only shop I ever went in, no other stores have a metal collection like HMV had. The reason i still bought from HMV was that i could get the physical product there and then, i didn't have to wait for delivery online. Do agree that they overpriced too much though, and in the end online is just cheaper. So as much as i'll miss HMV it is there own fault that they've gone under.
    w77yyz
    I still like the tactile nature of albums and/or CDs, where there is a tangible product with an opportunity for design and artwork.
    MthrfknBrkdwN
    I always prefer to have a physical copy of music but there is absolutely no way you can all say you're innocent when it comes to downloading music. We've ALL done it. I will not miss HMV, they sold CD's at 13 to 16 where I am which is ridiculous when I could just order it on amazon or play for 7 to 9.
    Jonagorn
    It's a shame really, I prefer buying CD's rather than digital albums. But I won't miss HMV in particular, some of the crap they sold was terrible.
    link no1
    I love having the actual album in my hands, it's a good feeling. Yes, I will get it digitally by ripping the CD or downloading it from piratebay (c'mon, I'm not buying it twice) but having the actual thing to hold and look through is incomparable. I can't say I give a damn about HMV shutting down though. The prices they slap on things are ridiculous. In my local HMV, newer albums are going anywhere from 20-30 (not including special editions inc. merch etc.) and stuff like the old Metallica, Sabbath or Slayer albums still going for 10-15, I refuse to pay so much for albums over 20 years old. Don't even get me started with console games selling at 45-50... Yea I will miss wandering around there looking for new albums or bands but to me they have been digging their own grave for a while now.
    zalant
    I felt like this when Tower's locations shut down. I spent the 90s there, and the selection was fantastic. Sure they carried all the pop music, but so much lesser-known stuff, as well (at least the stores in my area - PDX, OR). I know it may be silly to miss a physical music medium, but opening (even a CD) and checking out the album art, lyrics on paper, packaging, etc., was something I always looked forward to. They say that everything comes around again, so we'll see...
    Camron62\m/
    Rasputin has very large metal, punk and alternative sections.
    Crimson.King
    In the 70's, 80's, & early 90's Tower was the place to go. I spent hours there discovering amazing music. There import section was second-to-none. Then in the mid 90's they really changed...cut down the odd stuff and went mainstream. Where I live, Rasputin moved in a block away from Tower around '96. Tower's gone but 'Sputin lives on.
    Camron62\m/
    yeah, a Rasputin replaced the Tower in a neighborhood in Stockton, California, where i sometimes go, and used to live near.
    Crimson.King
    That's funny, it happened in Mt View also when Sputin took over the old Tower building. In Campbell, Sputin opened a block away from Tower and drove them out of business. Seems they had a brilliant marketing idea...
    timbit2006
    The HMV where I live has a pretty decent metal selection. They have some really unknown(At the time) bands there like Satan's Wrath.
    henrihell
    When we went to London with school I found my schoolmates black metal bands EP there. So your comment is 100% valid. I haven't seen it anywhere here in Finland, where the band is.
    teamoverdrunk16
    I'm with Jonagorn. I live in a little town where the only place to buy CDs is Walmart. It's ok when I want to get some Alan Jackson or James Blunt. But their metal selection sucks ass. However, when you do find that special CD it's that much sweeter. But I use to skip school to head down to CD Plus to pick up the newest release from my favourite bands. A thing of the past.
    --ESTRANGED--
    i for one will miss HMV's 2 for 10 offer. Introduced me to so many great albums back when i was a teenager. Genuinely sad to see them go
    noilly
    Couldn't agree more to this. Obviously it was just a way to make money by convincing you to buy 2 albums, but i discovered so many bands by just picking up a CD that looked cool and thinking "screw it, it's only a pound"
    whietwulf
    This almost means the end of physical cd retail in the UK. All we can hope is that more people will now buy at rise and they can reopen some stores. It was always better but the one in swindon closed.
    SexyLikeAPig
    I'll miss them purely for the fact that they're the only music shop around where I live, apart from cash converters and charity shops, who's ranges are limited.
    Scorpyin
    This is karma, HMV deserves this after enforcing a policy about not having employees with tattoos or long hair... It's alright for some places to enforce that kind of rule but at a music store is nothing short of asinine. I'm glad they got shut down. Not to mention the outrageous prices... (even tho i did)
    jamie_hough
    That is such a narrow point of view - its those very employees who are now without a job! The big guys in suits will still get a lot of money out of this whatever happens. I cant believe some people make comments like this and think its logical... then again the idea of Karma is pretty ridiculous anyway
    MR.LZZYHALE
    Oh jeez now people are starting to not believe in karma whats next aliens are not real
    Rimfrost
    Its a shame that physical music stores are doing soo poorly. I can see why, with the great online stores like Amazon and what nok. But personally my buying habits are different on the internet, i still by interesting stuff, but in the store you just browse through things in a different way, which also results in different purchases. Im going to miss that in the future, but probably mostly with movies though.
    False_God
    Doesnt affect me, not a music retailer within 50 miles of my town and even then, Im not sure whats there anymore with HMV closing. Been years since I bought a cd in person. Just do it online now or mp3. Its been coming for a while now unfortunately but once musicians can still make money from online retailers/mp3 downloads then I dont really mind.
    RndyW0
    They put Led Zeppelin in the Heavy Metal section for so many years. That alone deserves this.
    Charvel1995
    At least Canada isn't affected.
    IrishConnor1994
    Oh, that's awesome! I was scared for a second, if HMV goes under, then there officially aren't any music stores left in my area!
    rmack4341
    Vinyl is still selling, so while CD's are clearly becoming less popular, does anyone think companies will stop making them completely for artist's new music? Yes I am actually asking that, not being sarcastic.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    Well short term meaning 10 years out CD's are fine but uhh maybe in 20 years although I doubt it
    IrishConnor1994
    Man, I'm really gonna miss HMV, it's literally the only store in my area that sells a good selection of CDs!
    Kueller917
    I've never seen an HMV around here, but really I haven't been to a big music store in quite a while. I usually go to small local ones for support, or I just buy online if I can't find the CD because it's usually cheaper. Also, as much as I'd love to hold onto CD's, I still think everyone will have to accept files becoming the new standard. Their quality has already passed CD a while ago. Vinyl still sells because it's an analog format. The only thing that audio files really need is something more interactive to replace the covers and booklets. I know Pitchfork is starting some new streaming service that will supposedly begin to bridge that gap. I don't like Pitchfork for many reasons, but I think they have the right idea in this case.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    No no no there will always be that 5-6% of the market that will buy cd's so their safe for at least 10 more years
    Kueller917
    Oh I'm not saying that CD's will disappear or something, but I'm just saying it will be getting less and less common (which of course if already happening)
    Banandrew
    I for one really am devastated. I'm extremely reluctant to download music off of itunes and other such places because i wouldn't get a physical copy and all the joy associated with that. Furthermore, if I want to buy an album, i like browsing through to see everything they have in store, and having to make the decision based on what i have in my wallet, especially as i don't have a credit card (i'm seventeen and unemployed) and don't want to bug my parents all the time about paying for music for me. That, and it's the one place i feel comfortable looking around in at my local shopping mall when other people i'm with are looking in other shops that i'm not interested in
    Emperor's Child
    Very sneaky... the big bosses clearly decided to bail after everyone had bought vouchers for xmas. Luckily, I spent the 45 I had on the full Battlestar Galactica box set. Not sure my brother spent his vouchers though *evil cackle*
    ISimplyFallenI
    I won't really miss HMV I can go to a local music store and I like it more than HMV because they also sell vinyl and cassettes.
    TheWahoo95
    All of the local CD stores have been closing over the last few years, HMV is the only one left with any sort of metal selection. Looks like I'm going to have to order online or go digital.
    Anjohl
    Maybe if they had smaller stores, and a sense of reality, and stopped charging $30 for movies and $25 for cds, they would have survived. Walmart does them better.
    ne14t
    Wow anyone else catch the line that said "Gift Cards have now been made invalid" how can this be legal? So anyone that got gift cards to HMV no longer get anything and the person who purchased is out XXX amount of dollars, isn't this fraud or theft or something?
    refizzled
    People said this would happen after they started the whole 'no tattooed employees' policy a few weeks ago. Who would have known it would take its toll so quick... edit: should have read the article first. whoops.
    HAZ-121
    There are so many people who don't want to see CDs die out (me included), but the fact is even if you solely bought CDs you could just order them straight to your door from an online store which is usually the cheaper option. Sad news about all the employees though, made to change their appearance and now they'll lose their jobs anyway.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    Ammen dude a new cd I think I saw that in the US durring the christmas shooping season that 8% of all things bought were from online stores not much of the pie but it went up close to 50% since last year thats kind of scary for normal stores if that trend continues
    cyclonus
    They may point the finger at online piracy for their demise but to be honest, I used to buy loads of cds and dvds from HMV until I got fed up of being ripped off by their ridiculous high prices for stuff I knew I could get cheaper on internet music stores or even ebay and amazon. Just because they were the only main music retailer didn't mean they could expect to get away with constantly fleecing the consumer without driving them to other places
    Lightning_Ray
    I know of certain products who were cheaper on HMV's own website! With that said, every time I visited London, I always bought 2 or 3 CDs on a HMV. Even taking into account their high prices, in my country it's just downright scandalous. I recently have been using Amazon and couldn't be happier with it, cheap and great service so far.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    I know what you mean Coboys from hell is a mere 5 bucks here in the USA hard to compete with that you know...
    Beedy10
    You realise high street shops have to pay huge overheads compared to online shops? If they weren't 'fleecing' you they wouldn't make any profit at all. That's why stuff's cheaper on their own website, too.
    latinromans
    having an actual physical location is quickly becoming an unnecessary expense in the digital age, just as automation radically decreased the need for workers in the manufacturing sector the same is happening in the service industry.
    MoshGrizzly
    This is seriously crap news for me, not many other cd stores nearby.
    jamie_hough
    Seriously dude use an online store like amazon - itsnot got the same thrill as oging out and buying a cd but it is cheaper and you still get the physical copy. This news doesnt mean the end of CD's or anything, it just means that HMV were incapable of keeping up with the times. Other news outlets have been reporting on this and its amazing how scared of change HMV has been over the past decade, it is kind of their own fault. Shame for the employees though. They were beginning to be made to alter their appearance for some obivously out of touch business men, but maybe they can cancel that appointment at the hairdressers...
    PoorePlaysBass
    Being from America, I don't feel the loss...But for you guys from England I'm sure this is terrible. I'd be pretty shocked if something like all the F.Y.E.'s nationwide were to shut down. I both download and buy physical copies, and I personally feel physical copies still have a place. For those of you complaining of physical prices, buy used! That's what I do mostly
    smittyanthrax
    I feel for the lower paid employees.The stores were garbage but sometimes the online prices could be good.
    VikingMiguel
    I've lost 11 quid from my voucher now Used to be a ritual, going to Bath and spending ages in HMV, gonna miss them
    sidchaos1988
    If i buy music id rather have the physical product in my hands i can see what i paid for and if i want a digitial copy i would then rip it to my computer plus i get to read the lyric booklets look at the art the band/artists have put within the booklet or any extras within the cd case such as posters/stickers ect ect
    the_hoodster
    I'll miss their 2 for 10 deal. The HMV nearest to me had a great range of music, I suppose I'll have to stick to Amazon from now on.
    RetroGunslinger
    It's funny because the one in my city was always packed, except everyone was just having a look before going home and buying it off amazon or itunes for half the price. I used to love going in as a kid with my birthday or christmas money and buying as many different rock albums as I could afford
    5thCircuitRider
    I'll continue supporting small, independent record stores that don't charge insane prices and in the process be supporting small business owners, thank you very much.
    Gee Halen
    Today was the first time ever I've been into an HMV store. One of the reasons was looking for a job. glad I didn't ask.
    Rands2113
    Does that mean HMV Canada will also close? That would really suck I spend at least $150-$200 every month there I'm a huge supporter of CDs. I really hope this doesn't come over here I need my physical disks!
    paulohd2
    The HMV here in Vancouver closed down about 3 months ago. I really miss it, they had great prices for cds and dvds.
    Nickpocalypse
    Man, you must have been able to get two or three CDs per month at HMV with that kind of dough! Seriously though, there are other ways to get physical CDs.
    LedZeppelin14
    I'm not too sure dude. I'm working at an HMV in Alberta while I'm in school, and there hasn't been any change or anything in the past few months. I heard somewhere that HMV Canada got bought out a few years ago by some massive corporation, and that's what's keeping us afloat unlike HMV UK.
    Ich 666
    "Any gift vouchers have been made invalid." That sucks, especially since Christmas just passed, why do they rip off their customers like this? Im not sure if this is even allowed, since they got money for something they didnt deliver. Anyways, all the best for the employees, hope they'll find a job soon.
    TJWhonley
    as a uk resident though, I still buy CD's. HMV had a great rock/metal section as well. damn.
    rabidgoon
    Lots of predictable 'oh, woe is me, death of the music industry, downloading is ruining music' comments. The sale of recorded simulacra is an anomaly. In the grand scope of human history, recorded simulacra existed for less than a century - that's it. In other times, musicians had to make a living performing or creating commissioned pieces of music. That's how it's mostly been except in the anomalous 20th century, and it's how it's going to be moving forward. Get over it.
    Swogg
    Someone got a thesaurus for Christmas.
    rabidgoon
    You're just admitting you have a limited vocabulary. Every word I used is common, and should be known to anyone with a high school education.
    Rimfrost
    yeah, in the future you have to hire the band if you want to hear your favourite songs. This recording business is just a silly fad.
    rabidgoon
    You're really quite stupid. Recorded music will function as an advertisement for the band's tours or live shows, or they will get paid for their work to be featured in advertisements, movies or tv shows. You may think this is 'bad' but it's just the way things are going to be.
    Metallilmeister
    That's like saying, we never had electricity for most of human existence and now we can live without it. It's stupid.
    rabidgoon
    Piss poor analogy is piss poor. Electricity isn't going away. Recorded simulacra isn't going away. Currently, the people who make electricity can sell it to consumers. Currently, the ability to sell recorded simulacra is waning. If there becomes a way for people to easily produce their own electricity for use in their homes, the ability to sell electricity will also wane. Will you being decrying that too, or will you accept that technological advancements change society, and the ones who prosper are the ones who adapt accordingly?
    Second Rate
    This simulacrum of pretentiousness is correct. The record industry is a child of the 20th century, and what's more... the bloated, excessive, consolidated corporate record industry that most of us have known during our lifetimes is a creature of the 1990s. Professional musicians have existed since times long before the record industry, and will continue to exist long after. There is nothing wrong with doing commissioned pieces. It was good enough for Mozart, it should be good enough for some pretentious indie band with an inflated sense of self importance. This whole notion of "artistic integrity," the idea of the artist being some quasi-divine being blessed by the grace of the gods themselves is rubbish, pure and simple. Artistic ability is a skill, just as welding or plumbing is a skill. The welder and the plumber must work for their "bread," why should the artist not have to work for his as well?