With vinyl sales in the UK at a 20 year high, rejuvenated high street retailer HMV has lined up a bunch of exclusive releases and special offers as it tries to assert itself as a major vinyl retailer. Of the 1.3 million records sold in the UK last year, an astonishing 325,000 changed hands in HMV.
After seeing sales of vinyl albums almost triple between 2013 and 2014, the UK chain now stocks vinyl in all of its stores for the first time since the ’90s, and this month will be stocking limited edition records and price cuts on a range of classic LPs in the week leading up to Father’s Day.
The special releases will be available from Saturday June 20 and include exclusive colour LPs of the dad-appropriate variety (Paul Simon, Black Sabbath, Joni Mitchell, Morrissey, Royal Blood) as well as some slightly more off-kilter stuff like Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack.
“Last year, outside of Christmas, Father’s Day week was our biggest week on vinyl. We’ve identified that week as an opportunity to really go for it and we wanted to distance ourselves from Record Store Day so that it didn’t seem like a response to not being a part of it,” said HMV music manager John Hirst in Music Week. “It is really about us raising awareness that we’ve got vinyl in our stores again, that we’re priced competitively and that the availability is good.”
Due to space restrictions and the growth of other formats, vinyl had been “squeezed out of HMV a little bit”, he added. “The other reason [for vinyl’s absence] was availability. Records were being pressed in smaller numbers and the majority of those were going through the indies. In the last couple of years, due to encouragement from us, labels have started pressing more copies. They’ve made a lot more of their catalogue available and obviously they need an outlet for that.
“The indies still do an incredible job with vinyl. Their share reflects that. But what we do, which the indies don’t, is provide that consistently over 120 different locations all across the country. We’ve got to be the number one destination for vinyl on the High Street. While the indies are catering to more specialist customers, we’re taking vinyl back to the masses.”