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?

Ultimate Guitar

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

    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.
    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
    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"
    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...
    Rasputin has very large metal, punk and alternative sections.
    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.
    yeah, a Rasputin replaced the Tower in a neighborhood in Stockton, California, where i sometimes go, and used to live near.
    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...
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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...
    man i used to love just looking through the aisles and pick up random stuff that i heard was good.
    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.
    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
    Yeah but vinyl is making a huge comeback. That's a very good thing.
    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.
    Seconded. There will always be people like me who will buy CDs but there's no promise that they'll make CDs forever.
    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
    idiot, it all i have to say. change is so scary isnt it?
    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?
    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.
    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.
    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.
    A valid comment... but "I hope you die" was a bit over the top...
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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!
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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...
    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!
    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'.
    If everyone had your mentality we'd still be in the stone age.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    Or the fact that digital downloads are less money.. (at least where I live because digital downloads seem to be exempt from taxes)
    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.
    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...
    This is seriously crap news for me, not many other cd stores nearby.
    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...
    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
    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
    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.
    I know what you mean Coboys from hell is a mere 5 bucks here in the USA hard to compete with that you know...
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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
    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
    Man, I'm really gonna miss HMV, it's literally the only store in my area that sells a good selection of CDs!
    At least Canada isn't affected.
    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!
    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!
    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.
    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.
    The HMV here in Vancouver closed down about 3 months ago. I really miss it, they had great prices for cds and dvds.
    They put Led Zeppelin in the Heavy Metal section for so many years. That alone deserves this.
    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.
    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?
    as a uk resident though, I still buy CD's. HMV had a great rock/metal section as well. damn.
    I buy Cds, but I don't care about the music industry. I would rather support artists directly.
    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
    Fuck this is shit! (pardon my language) the only place I can go to by CD's in my area is Wal-Mart! and anyone who has ever been to wal-mart knows that the CD selection is not that great... R.i.p. HMV, you'll forever give me a nostalgia boner
    Yeah i know what you mean. Here in the UK we have ASDA, which is pretty much owned by Wal-mart. All they ever seem to stock is chart rubbish. Great thing about HMV and other music stores is the diversity of music, Wal-mart / ASDA is just a joke.... unless you like karaoke and rhianna.
    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.
    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*
    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.
    No sympathy for the company (except obviously for the people who have lost their jobs!!) as I remember for about 3 YEARS the only Porcupine Tree album sold in my local HMV was the 4 track EP "Nil Recurring" and it was priced at 20. Fuck that.
    I never got how stores could do this. The item would be litterly collecting dust yet it would still sit there unpurchased and no price change.
    Way Cool JR.
    I only buy physical copies of music, I never downloaded music online and never will. So I can happily say i didn't contribute (and never will) to the downfall of places like this and the loss of peoples jobs in these places.
    I'll always be a CD person as well, the only time I use iTunes is to buy stuff that you can't get on CD
    Im glad they went bust in Australia.. HMV tried to sell cd's for $28-$33.. A major rip off.. Then came along a store called JBHIFI selling cd's on average $16-$20.. and most often $10 and with a huge metal selection.. can see why they didnt last
    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.
    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.
    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
    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)
    I work in a record shop and to be honest now CD's are going out and it is pretty much just downloads people might want more nostalgia when in comes to music, i think vinyl will come back
    I would like vinyl to come back. Unlike CDs vinyl actually does have sonic advantage compared to downloads.
    Also I just heard that tapes are sort of making a comeback as well lol. And If i was rich i would buy my whole cd collection in vinyl but I can't afford 80 some records at 35 bucks US
    You know it's odd but now that I think about it, it's been ages since I've seen a music store in a mall. No Sam Goody/FYE and as a kid the Best Buy near me had a surprisingly decent selection but that part of the store is now about the size of a medium sized bookshelf lol. Same thing with bookstores like Borders. It sucks because there was something really fun about going to the record store and sampling music for like an hour, or the fun of picking up a much anticipated album. I still remember begging my mom to take me to the mall to buy Morning View by Incubus. How excited I was to first put it in the cd player, checking out the great artwork in the booklet and reading the lyrics as the song played. I mean I could still do those things, but when that was pretty much the ONLY way to do it (I wasn't up on Napster or anything like that yet), it felt a lot more special. But c'est la vie, things come and go and what's normal now will probably be viewed as odd, inefficient, or archaic in just a few decades.
    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.
    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.
    nooooo, i love going into HMV! i love going in there and found new music and listen to new bands. i buy CD's from them all the time and to be honest, next year, i was going to see if i could get a job there! this sucks! i do have one question, is this being affected by all the HMV's around the world?
    HMV is one of the only CD retailers I know of in my city (asides from places with a not so good CD selection such as Best Buy, or Wal-Mart, which is great if you want to listen to stuff like Lady Gaga, Nickelback, Taylor Swift, etc. but not so great if you're looking for more obscure metal, or punk music, or hell, more obscure music in general). This saddens me, as I've had a hard time accepting iTunes as a primary music retailer. I love having a physical copy of my music. I love going to the CD store when a new album comes out, picking it up, driving home, and then listening to it while I read the lyrics in the album booklet, and read through all the liner notes. Maybe if CDs were being replaced by a 'better' physical alternative, I'd be willing to accept that, but something about everything being digital just seems weird. I love owning hundreds (if not thousands) of CDs, and having a big collection that my friends are all blown away by. Telling them I have over 100 gigs of music on my computer seems far less impressive. The same way (as my generation) looks at records and thinks 'wow, these are so cool!' I hope my kids/grandkids will one day be able to look at my collection of CDs, and think the same thing. So, with that in mind, I refuse to surrender my favorite media format. Guess I'll just be ordering all my CDs online then. And if I have to pay extra? Well, I really could care less. It's worth it for the music I love.
    Not at all a suprise, HMV screwed themselves with their own stubborness, thinking they were still top dog when those days have been long behind them. If they refuse to re-establish themselves in the digital age they'll be left behind. This is progress. Even when i did buy CDs I certainly didnt pay 16.99 for them in HMV. The shop down the road was cheaper. HMV digital was also considerably more expensive than itunes/amazon. They arent the be all and end all of music, at all, theyre a greedy ass company who put themselves in this position with a total lack of foresight and general dickishness. RIP Hmv. Wont miss you.
    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.
    Just wondering to people freaking out about not having a place to buy CDs, are you aware the internet has a larger collection for lower prices? There hasn't been a major record store around here for over a decade so I've been doing most of my shopping online since local stores would rarely have CDs I want. All right, maybe some people like the physical shopping experience. Personally I've never really found much enjoyment in the browsing though.
    Way Cool JR.
    If my local Music/Video store (FYE) don't have what I'm looking for in-stock I just have them order it for me. This goes for Movies & CD's. I prefer doing it that way than ordering it online. This way if there is any problems with it I just return it to the store and get another one. Much better than dealing with returns online and extra shipping charges. Also I have more fun at the stores shopping than doing it online.
    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)
    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
    Oh jeez now people are starting to not believe in karma whats next aliens are not real
    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.