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Post Info TOPIC: Goodbye HMV


Back To Boomtown

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Goodbye HMV
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The end of the record shop.  Have to confess I went into HMV and Fopp during the week and bought nothing, so I have played my part in their demise.   That said I didn't buy anything in Music & Video Exchange either as all the LPs in the bargain basement had dropped to 10p and the racks were empty bar the ubiquitous Tracey Ullman, Bread and David Essex albums that are in every charity store.

Still I did get my record fix in spades this week.  At our local Oxfam Books & Music some poor soul had his record collection donated to my benefit.  Got Dylan, Springsteen, The Police and Travelling Wilburys, but the real gem was Carole King's Tapestry in near mint condition (as were all the other LPs).  All less than £3 each.   Plenty of other good LPs as well.  I guess for our generation, Oxfam is where it's at!



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Mondo Bongo

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Well I still remember Our Price with fondness! When I first worked in London, used to get off train at Waterloo and spend hard-earned money in there first thing in the morning - got Bowie's back catalogue of albums for about £2.99 each - which seemed a real bargain at the time.

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Lisa wrote:
...got Bowie's back catalogue of albums for about £2.99 each - which seemed a real bargain at the time.

I got them all on cassette for 50p each from our local Woolworths many years ago.  Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs, Low,  Heroes and Scary Monsters.    I know this as they are the tapes I had in the car until we upgraded to a CD player last year.  

The Scary Monsters one wasn't in my car as something like John Denver was recorded on it rather than David Bowie!  And I just never got around to returning it.

Nowadays, I'm just getting them all on vinyl.  Got Lodger with gatefold sleeve in Oxfam the other week.  Did pass on Never Let Me Down.



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Mondo Bongo

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ArrGee wrote:
Lisa wrote:
...got Bowie's back catalogue of albums for about £2.99 each - which seemed a real bargain at the time.

I got them all on cassette for 50p each from our local Woolworths many years ago. 

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 50p!!  Well no wonder Woollies went bust biggrin 

Mine are on vinyl - gathering dust in the loft, but wouldn't want to part with them.



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The biggest Geldof fan in the world, bar none!

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Our Price -my Rats cassettes still have the Our Price label stuck to them proudly.

The demise of HMV feels regretful like the end if an era. But I've done my bit to help it along the way by downloading or ordering from Play.com.

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Loudmouth

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It's hard to see how they can restructure, as they have been behind the curve for so long- always missing the zeitgeist. 26 stores in Ireland, North and South, and these are likely to go belly up. Even at Christmas the cd floors in Grafton st and Henry St seemed pretty empty, hardly anybody under 35 buying cd's.

Generally HMV still seems to charge a lot for cd's and DVD's compared to online, Tower Records are even worse so what chance for them either? It's a blow too for town centres and the High Street in general. No more book shops, record stores or camera shops. Guess which much maligned rock star opened the flagship store on 150 Oxford St back in '84 or 85,   and was namechecked on 5 Live Breakfast by Nicky Campbell this morning?

Maybe some of the stores will survive in a smaller format, but I think the vast majority of ones will have to go.



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Dave

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noelindublin wrote:
Guess which much maligned rock star opened the flagship store on 150 Oxford St back in '84 or 85,   and was namechecked on 5 Live Breakfast by Nicky Campbell this morning?

Oh that's Bob Geldof.  Whatever happened to him

Frankly, it is impossible for a record store to compete with online providers.  Pretty much every independent in east London has gone for years.  Rough Trade East is the only one left. That opened in 2007.

The only record stores thriving are Oxfam Books & Music, and they are just using the 1980s chart return shop model of getting free stock and selling it at 100% profit.

I must admit I love browsing in record stores, but rarely buy much.   Funnily enough the last new (rather than second hand) record I bought was at Tower in Dublin, in the shop above Easons.   I got the 7" of Fairytale of New York.

Without physical product, why would people go to record shops?   Had Bowie released his latest single on vinyl, I'd have been in a queue outside HMV.



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In the Long Grass

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Didn't expect this (below) I have to say. I always thought the companies were separate, and I know they always stressed prices could/would differ plus you couldn't get refunds instore for online purchases.

Given that the future is online, even if not with CDs, I really expected this part of business to continue. Maybe it will, as part of any limited salvage operation from a rescuer. 

Still struggling to come to terms with Woolies going myself cry

site_down_1a.jpg



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Back To Boomtown

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suss wrote:

Didn't expect this (below) I have to say. I always thought the companies were separate, and I know they always stressed prices could/would differ plus you couldn't get refunds instore for online purchases.

Given that the future is online, even if not with CDs, I really expected this part of business to continue. Maybe it will, as part of any limited salvage operation from a rescuer. 


There is a big problem for the labels (and film companies) with the lack of a store.  HMV sales are around £500 million/annum http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/hmv-debt-grows-to-176-1m-in-h1-sales-down-13-5-but-losses-narrow/052892 and as a showroom they probably lead to significant sales for Amazon, Play et al, from people price checking what they see.  The music industry could more or less collapse as a result of this as two thirds of sales are still on CD.

I suspect that in the UK, this is the end of the commercially available CD.  Sales of new material from now on will be direct from record labels or through iTunes/Amazon.  There will be a small specialist vinyl market, but that aside little reason for anyone to sell CDs,DVDs and possibly games.

 



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Loudmouth

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All the branches in the ROI have actually been closed at the company here seeks Administration. There was a sit in in Limerick by staff at two branches, fearing they would not get paid for work over Christmas. In Dublin a man walked out of the Henry St branch with unpaid for goods, he was angry he could not claim on gift vouchers he had bought for his grand children at Christmas. Lots of bad publicity in Ireland so closing immediately seems to have been a safe option, while the company goes to court. It's a bit of a mess, and for me the ultimate sign of a recession. Even back in the "Ghost town" days of 1980/81 you always had record shops.

Funny thing is that recently, in both Grafton and lately Henry St, the cd section was vastly increased, meaning a much larger section of back catalogue and hard to find cd's were available. A few weeks later the company goes bust.

Seems the only music format that seems healthy is vinyl. Almost any music of worth nowadays has a vinyl release on 180g high quality vinyl, audiophile quality.I'd imagine the first two Rats albums would sound excellent on 180g vinyl- even back in the day the vinyl used was cheap, and not up to todays standards, so perhaps the ultimate sounding Rats experience has yet to emerge. You can't hug an mp3! Tower carry a good range of vinyl released, and there is a good mark up compared with cd's, but I suppose the market is much more limited. We seem to have sacrificed sound quality for convenience.

Reading some of the vinyl versus cd articles vinyl always comes out on top, and  a lot of  remastered cd's get a hammering from critics. I don't have a record player at the moment but I keep thinking vinyl must be better sounding. There is just two much pro vinyl opinion out there so there must be something in it.



-- Edited by noelindublin on Monday 21st of January 2013 02:09:26 PM

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Back To Boomtown

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noelindublin wrote:
Seems the only music format that seems healthy is vinyl. Almost any music of worth nowadays has a vinyl release on 180g high quality vinyl, audiophile quality.I'd imagine the first two Rats albums would sound excellent on 180g vinyl- even back in the day the vinyl used was cheap, and not up to todays standards, so perhaps the ultimate sounding Rats experience has yet to emerge. You can't hug an mp3! Tower carry a good range of vinyl released, and there is a good mark up compared with cd's, but I suppose the market is much more limited. We seem to have sacrificed sound quality for convenience.

Reading some of the vinyl versus cd articles vinyl always comes out on top, and  a lot of  remastered cd's get a hammering from critics. I don't have a record player at the moment but I keep thinking vinyl must be better sounding. There is just two much pro vinyl opinion out there so there must be something in it.


Apparently,  vinyl makes up less than 1% of album sales.  Of about 100 million albums sold in the UK in 2012, about 69 million sold on CD, 30 million downloads and less than 0.5 million on vinyl (389,000).   The level of vinyl sales, though lucrative, are unlikely to sustain the music business. 

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/419799/20130102/cd-sales-less-one-percent-singles-market.htm

As for the definitive Rats experience, given the issues with the 2005 remasters (see elsewhere in the forum), the best hope would be to look for the Japanese pressings.  They tended to use virgin vinyl, and though not 180g.  They are certainly better than the UK equivalents.  US pressing can be superior to UK pressings simply because there were fewer made and they probably not with a worn stamper.  The worst pressing of a Rats LP is Mondo Bongo, where groove cramming makes it unlistenable at times.

http://reviews.ebay.co.uk/Why-buy-Japanese-vinyl-records?ugid=10000000012078054

As for the CD vs. vinyl debate, it all depends.  Remastering done properly can result in excellent results, but often it does create too harsh a sound, and compression can make it sound over loud and distorted.

http://blogcritics.org/music/article/the-myth-of-remastering/

 

 



-- Edited by ArrGee on Monday 21st of January 2013 05:17:22 PM

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In the Long Grass

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ArrGee wrote:
I suspect that in the UK, this is the end of the commercially available CD.   

 Suspect you're right. Difficult to argue otherwise. I live in a pretty densely populated area yet HMV is about the only outlet with any sort of range. With that potentially going it will be impossible to get anything that's not a "Top 40" album, assuming you shop in the fortnight it remains one smile, or a budget compilation a la 21st Century K-Tel. Even then it's only the mega Tesco or Asda that have any sort of volumes.

My teenage kids have never bought a CD.

Says it all really....



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Loudmouth

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ArrGee wrote:
noelindublin wrote:
Seems the only music format that seems healthy is vinyl. Almost any music of worth nowadays has a vinyl release on 180g high quality vinyl, audiophile quality.I'd imagine the first two Rats albums would sound excellent on 180g vinyl- even back in the day the vinyl used was cheap, and not up to todays standards, so perhaps the ultimate sounding Rats experience has yet to emerge. You can't hug an mp3! Tower carry a good range of vinyl released, and there is a good mark up compared with cd's, but I suppose the market is much more limited. We seem to have sacrificed sound quality for convenience.

Reading some of the vinyl versus cd articles vinyl always comes out on top, and  a lot of  remastered cd's get a hammering from critics. I don't have a record player at the moment but I keep thinking vinyl must be better sounding. There is just two much pro vinyl opinion out there so there must be something in it.


Apparently,  vinyl makes up less than 1% of album sales.  Of about 100 million albums sold in the UK in 2012, about 69 million sold on CD, 30 million downloads and less than 0.5 million on vinyl (389,000).   The level of vinyl sales, though lucrative, are unlikely to sustain the music business. 

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/419799/20130102/cd-sales-less-one-percent-singles-market.htm

As for the definitive Rats experience, given the issues with the 2005 remasters (see elsewhere in the forum), the best hope would be to look for the Japanese pressings.  They tended to use virgin vinyl, and though not 180g.  They are certainly better than the UK equivalents.  US pressing can be superior to UK pressings simply because there were fewer made and they probably not with a worn stamper.  The worst pressing of a Rats LP is Mondo Bongo, where groove cramming makes it unlistenable at times.

http://reviews.ebay.co.uk/Why-buy-Japanese-vinyl-records?ugid=10000000012078054

As for the CD vs. vinyl debate, it all depends.  Remastering done properly can result in excellent results, but often it does create too harsh a sound, and compression can make it sound over loud and distorted.

http://blogcritics.org/music/article/the-myth-of-remastering/

 

 



-- Edited by ArrGee on Monday 21st of January 2013 05:17:22 PM


 Most likely, vinyl, when done properly is a superior sounding medium. Vinyl, back in the seventies was not up to "industry standards", and most good pressings were more the result of luck rather than deliberation. Like any "product" if records are pressed with care and adhere to a set of standards then the results will always be better than cd's.Today records are pressed to a very high standard, and manufacturers seem to care enough to make sure customers get the optimum sound and also the sleeve/artwork.

It's hard not to be impressed picking up, say, a Kasabian album on 180 gram vinyl and then thinking about a flimsy cd or worst  download of the same product. The consensus seems to be that the vinyl just sounds a whole lot better. I'm no expert but looking through the selection of vinyl records in Tower, I got to thinking why so much "credible" music is issued on vinyl. Couldn't just be a placebo effect?



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Back To Boomtown

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noelindublin wrote:
Most likely, vinyl, when done properly is a superior sounding medium. Vinyl, back in the seventies was not up to "industry standards", and most good pressings were more the result of luck rather than deliberation. Like any "product" if records are pressed with care and adhere to a set of standards then the results will always be better than cd's.Today records are pressed to a very high standard, and manufacturers seem to care enough to make sure customers get the optimum sound and also the sleeve/artwork.

DVD Audio/SACD are considered to be superior but were never widely adopted. 

Vinyl has a few issues (dynamic ranges, track placement, stereo separation, stamper quality), and needs a lot of care and attention to get it right.  With CD, it's a lot easier to get right, and but for sound engineers using compression to make the CD very LOUD, it would generally be superior. 

You can get a very good CD player for peanuts and there is no effort setting it up, whereas an equivalent record player is more expensive and takes a lot of patience to set up correctly, not to mention the ongoing care and maintenance.

I tend to buy vinyl, but probably more for aesthetic reasons than sound quality.  If push came to shove, I'd say CD is superior, particularly for anything recorded in the last twenty years.

Ironically, most people listen to MP3/AAC/WMA (and others) these days, and they are definitely of lower quality than CD or vinyl no matter how good your player is. In fact, many hi-fi (sic) systems nowadays are more or less incapable of playing CD and vinyl.



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Mondo Bongo

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Was always very difficult to disguise a record when giving as a present - and I guess advantage of CDs is you don't have to use as much wrapping paper! But even so, vinyl just seemed so much more exciting! But maybe that's an age thing, rose tinted glasses and all that ..

PS the Ctrl F5 trick works a treat Well done ArrGee! Go to the top of the class and give yourself a gold star

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V Deep

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I had totaly forgotten Our Price.I remember buying lots of my early Boomtown Rats stuff at Our Price in Brent Cross shopping center.I fondly remember buying the 4 track ep which was only released in Australia + Someones Looking At You(12inch) and thinking that it does not get any better than this.


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Back To Boomtown

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When I think about it I bought the first Rats LP AND the last in the same store in Dalston, seven years between the two. I bought Tonic and Rat Trap in the HMV in Holloway Road on the way home from school. Oddly I can probably remember every store I bought a Rats record in.



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