There was a time when you could go into a record shop and listen to the music in case you wanted to buy it. You listened in booths. It was very hip in the late 60s and early 70s to go and hear the latest Beatles, Stones, whatever. I used to hang out in a shop called Hammant's, which also sold refrigerators, washing machines and the like. Today it is a hardware chain store. But the upstairs, where the booths were, it still has the original oak flooring.

Later, when I moved to America for a few years, I would go to Penguin Feathers, a wonderful record shop in northern Virginia. Booths were gone by them, but there were bins and bins of great sounds. 

All gone. Most of this kind of place was swept away by the mega-store -- Virgin Records, Tower Records and the like. Now these places are dying, drowned by  the onslaught of downloading and order-by-internet. Not that I mind particularly . These are the blacksmiths of our day, unable to adapt to a new world. We have moved on. Vinyl is still around. So are CDs.But you don't have to buy your music that way and you get them from somewhere else if you still want to.

The latest "casualty" is HMV. It became a mess of a place in recent years -- not sure if it was selling music, film. electronics or what. It will probably survive in some form, But we should -- while looking firmly forward -- tip the hat to the past. Here are a couple of photos of its main shop in the 195os and 1960s. I found them on the  very internet that killed it off. 

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Tags: HMV, Records

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 19, 2013 at 11:55am

Your blog is near and dear to my heart today.  Seattle's beloved Easy Street Records closed their Queen Anne location for good last night.  It was the largest and coolest Seattle record store.  They hosted lots of great in store performances with popular artists and had a huge selection of both new and used cd's and vinyl. 

We still have the West Seattle location of Easy Street, Sonic Boom and a couple other record stores, but none of them match up to the splendiferousness of the store that closed last night.

Here's a photo blog of last nights closing from the Seattle Times.

It was a proud No Depression moment when Easy Street painted this mural for the No Depression Festival on their outside wall.  Very sad at the loss of that store and not that there haven't been many lost already but it's a harbinger of what's yet to come.

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on January 19, 2013 at 12:02pm

Here's the Trailer for "I Need That Record" which is a fantastic documentary about the death of the record store. It's a great film. Highly recommended.

“An elegy for a vanishing subculture …a lively, bittersweet film that examines - with caustic humor, brutal candor, and, ultimately, great affection - why roughly 3,000 indie record stores have closed across the nation over the past decade…” - Johnathan Perry, Boston Globe

Comment by Jeremy Gaunt (music JJMG) on January 20, 2013 at 2:34am

And here is one for you Kyla.

Comment by denton fabrics on January 21, 2013 at 12:36pm

Wow, what a beautiful storefront sign that is! I had heard of HMV before but never made the connection to RCA's slogan (motto?) "His Master's Voice".

Comment by L A Johnson on January 21, 2013 at 3:46pm

Parking outside HMV Oxford Street now that's a novelty.

Comment by Easy Ed on January 21, 2013 at 9:23pm

When my old friend and business associate sent me the news last week about HMV, it caused barely a shrug. We'd seen the demise of HMV here in the US many years ago. I recall when they had about fifteen locations here and I sat with the man in charge who predicted that would have over five hundred locations in three years and would wipe out the competition. Such bravado I thought at the time. And in fact, they were long gone before Tower and Virgin finally bit the dust. But I give them credit for holding on in the UK and a few other places, and they put in a good effort to be last man standing.

There is a story that broke over the weekend that some of the major music corporations are seeking a way to save them by slashing prices on CDs and forgiving or delaying payments.Here's the top of the article: "It is believed that companies including Universal Music and Sony are prepared to cut the prices of CDs and DVDs for HMV's customers and give the retailer extended credit terms if restructuring specialist Hilco, which is understood to be interested in buying HMV out of administration, clinches a deal."

Can you imagine?  In the past twenty years we have watched the industry make every mistake imaginable from pricing strategy to dealing with piracy, and they have simply stood by and let their entire customer base go out of business. And for some reason, today someone inside a corporate office wakes up and yells "Wait! We need to save HMV! This could be big trouble for us!", as if they just realized that something is amiss in their business model.


May little Nipper rest in peace. The overweight lady has sung.

Comment by Tom Semioli on January 22, 2013 at 6:58am

Unfortunately we have lost scores of record shops in NYC - and we're about to lose another, the hallowed Bleeker Bob's.  BB's also sold tickets for small venues back in the day wherein I could hear everyone from Miles Davis to BB King to new, upcoming artists such as Bruce Springsteen. Generation Records is still going strong in the Village, and J & R still keeps the flame burning down in the financial district but....this is a terrible loss for musicians and fans. 

Comment by Easy Ed on January 22, 2013 at 7:06am

I took a stroll through Bleeker Bobs this past weekend in anticipation of its demise. As I left there was a tour group down the street and the guide was talking about how Greenwich Village had once been the center of the folk music revival and how vibrant an area it had once been. I almost yelled "Quick...go visit a record store before they all go away" but I kept on moving. 

Comment by photo cowboy on January 22, 2013 at 7:48am

this is one of the sad stories of modern society - the record store and particularly those that sold preloved music were the mecca for being exposed to new music - they used to populate the landscape and then it got so you had to seek them out and i am afraid we are now down to just a handful - grimey's in nashville  and the louisiana music factory in new orleans - i'm sure there are more and it might be fun to compile a list and find these places - so that when someone is craving the music they can bop on in and find a bit of comfort - 

you can send address' to me and i'll try and compile a list go to http//  and go to contact us and contact bob leave the webmaster alone unless you might like to compliment him on his work 

let's see what we come up with 


Comment by Easy Ed on January 22, 2013 at 8:00am

Plenty of record stores still in business, many thriving as they move into specialty and customer service mode. Here's a bunch of resources on where to find you some time photo cowboy:


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.