Music Sales Boom After HMV Gloom

UK music fans rushed out to buy music when they heard the only high street music store was going into administration, according to one theory behind the huge boost this month.

Ultimate Guitar

Music sales in UK shot up in January when British music fans realised they might lose HMV.

HMV, Britain's only nationwide high street music retailer, announced it was going into administration after being rejected a £300 million ($475 million) loan to prop up their dying business.

Now people believe it helped boost UK music sales this month, which were up by 11.6% compared to the same period last year.

"There has been a significant public reaction to the threat to HMV. Stores have been inundated with customers concerned that they may lose their local store and this appears to have translated into sales," said ERA director general Kim Bayley (via Music Ally).

Another theory behind the boost is that people with HMV gift cards who were told they were invalid then rushed out to spend them as soon as they were activated again following criticism.

However, HMV only announced its closure on January 15, which doesn't explain a rise of 15.3% in the first week of January, though the regular annual New Year sales may account for this. In the two weeks following HMV's administration announcement, music sales were up by 14.2% and 12.9% respectively.

HMV may survive in some form, but in the long term its closure is likely to have a negative impact on music sales. Reports say it accounts for 38% of physical UK music sales, and the only alternative is supermarkets which offer a relatively limited and mainstream selection, which affects investment in independent music.

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wouldn't read too much into this, let us see where they are in 6 months
    You might be right, but even if you are, this is a step in the right direction!
    I would really miss HMV. There's just something about actually having a physical copy and being able to get real customer service that I prefer over downloads and Amazon :|
    You can still buy physical copies for a lot less online anyway. All that happened this January was the death of a huge commercial company that liked to rip off its customers. Stats about small record shops that actually care about music shutting down are a lot sadder. That said, I will miss HMV's poster selection...
    "the only alternative is supermarkets" Is everyone forgetting the independent music retailers in the UK that have survived despite HMV? I often find they're better for sourcing more obscure or local artists anyway! ....All that said amazon is cheaper than them both haha
    Good, consumers should be the ones working towards saving a business. It shouldn't be bailouts or loans. I'm glad to hear that UK consumers are the ones helping out HMV. Now, if you all would just pass some of that spirit along to US consumers please...
    Childhood shop = woolworths .... closed down Teenhood shop = HMV ..... probably going to close down Weeeell this is great isnt it ?
    Adulthood shop = Pub /Strip Club. If they close too, God have mercy on us all!!
    They didn't start accepting gift cards again because of criticism - they did it because they found an administrator who decided it was viable for them to continue accepting them. It was a tough situation to be in, especially so soon after Christmas. I can understand people's anger towards the gift cards being rejected, but at the same time HMV didn't really have a great deal of choice. While it's good that music sales are up, it's not going to last. No one cared enough to stop HMV going into administration, and it wasn't any great secret they were in trouble, so people caring for a couple of weeks isn't going to solve anything in the long run. HMV themselves are at least partly to blame - I had a 30 gift card last week, I spent over an hour in my local HMV and couldn't even find 30 worth of stuff I wanted. They just don't have enough a wide enough range of stuff available in the shops, and it isn't helped by the fact they've taken their website down.
    The thing with HMV is none of the things are actually on sale, they've just been put back to the highest price they've ever been (and some of them is marked with a blue cross and put stuff lower) Nothing in my local HMV is selling, funny for a clearance sale!
    I buy all my CDs used off Amazon now, I can get most stuff for about 5 give or take with postage. No reason to buy a 15 one from the high street or 7 - 9 for an mp3 download with no physical copy. Surprised that not many people do the same.
    Yeah the pricing model for mp3s can be a bit off, I often find new CDs from Amazon are cheaper than the digital alternative. If you're buying the used CDs specifically because you want a hard copy with the booklet etc, buying used is great, however if you're trying to support the artist then buying a used CD is about as useful to them (and to you) as downloading the .flac files for free.
    I always get a pang of guilt whenever I buy off Amazon, knowing that I am in some way contributing to Britain's repeated recessions.
    every item at mine is on sale, many are two for ten. i only buy music at hmv and independent record shops, i dont like buying off amazon or itunes unless there is no other way to buy that bands cd. i dont know whats going at yourn
    When i went in at the weekend there was loads of people buying stuff (assuming you're talking about the northumberland street store).
    yeah of all the HMVs it was the northumberland street store... geez is that even a real place? lOnDoN btdubs!
    ..Yeah its the Newcastle City Centre store. One of the biggest stores on the street. It will be a miss if it goes.
    One big question remains : Why the hell are CD's more expensive to buy physically from a store than it is to order it online AND pay for Postage and Packaging, often not from the same country you live in? It doesn't make sense to me. HMV should lower their prices to compete and even better Amazon and they should at least improve their situation. They don't seem to get that Regular Joe's like me on not very flattering salaries want to get the best deal for their CD's, loyalty and apathy to the store means jack these days, but still, I'd prefer to buy in a store than online...IF it's cheaper!!!
    Can you imagine how much it costs to rent, heat & maintain a HMV shop. They are nearly always based on high street, having to hold stock & employ more staff/security etc. Amazon have warehouses nationwide which keeps their overhead down.
    The big thing that pissed me off about HMV was that they chose to go into administration just after Christmas. Meaning they had just had their busiest period of selling gift vouchers; which are now worthless.
    The article fails to mention that HMV isn't actually shutting down. The company was purchased by the Big Three record labels. They want to keep it alive.
    Shame about the shops that HMV has put out of business over the years.
    yes, but it started as an independent record store, its not as if it was ruthlessy undercutting prices unlike tesco.
    supermarkets are going to be the only alternative? erm, nope. that's entertainment is doing very well & now has 37 stores in great britain. do your research UG.
    As with anything, a knee jerk reaction is made, but at the end of the day does the UK really hold HMV in such high esteem? As badfish_lewis noted, lets see what happens in 6 months. I doubt album sales stay high over the long run, for the interim sure, but we as consumers flock to great prices more than anything.
    It's sad that it took the biggest music retailer in the world falling to the ground before people started buying music again. "Oh no - there will be no one left to rip CDs to put on Pirate Bay! We must save HMV!"
    "and the only alternative is supermarkets which offer a relatively limited and mainstream selection, which affects investment in independent music. " *are supermarkets. Also it is worth noting that it's not their limited and mainstream selection that is the worry for the UK, it is their monopolistic low pricing, which leads to increased profit for the firm, i.e Tesco, and far less profit for the record label - especially when supplied in bulk. Which overall has led to the decline in record labels, I think EMI is the only British Record Label that is performing well, but EMI is pretty much American now.
    I'm sorry, but..."And the only alternative are supermarkets?" No, they were correct, in the first place. Were they to put "supermarkets" first, then it would be "...are the only alternative".
    You're both wrong because there's plenty of alternative independent record stores all over the UK.
    I can't believe that HMV is the only record store in the UK. Surely there are independent places all over, and with the tremendous vacuum HMV would leave, many more independent stores would take its place. I'm not a resident of the UK, but the whole "If HMV closes the ONLY place you'll be able to find a CD is the supermarket" seems unrealistic, and a lot like a scare tactic to me.