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ben08
post Aug 10 2018, 01:53 PM
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Music Week
August 10th 2018 at 7:00AM

Like the wait at the till on a Saturday morning, it’s been a long time coming. But, as exclusively revealed in this week’s Music Week, changes to music retail space in Tesco and Sainsbury’s mean that, while the end game for physical music is still a long way off, we may well be entering the beginning of the end.

To sum up those changes: numerous sources across labels and retail have told Music Week that Tesco has made “significant” cuts to the range of CDs it carries. Tesco refused to comment, although sources at the grocer suggest a less clear-cut “refocusing” on the top end of the market, with vinyl boosted in many stores.

The picture at vinyl pioneer Sainsbury’s is similar, where the arrival of Argos concessions in many stores has hit music and other non-food space. The situation there has also been exacerbated by the departure of respected music & books trading manager Pete Selby and his entire music buying team, leaving them short on the specialist knowledge so essential to the sector.

It adds up to a bleak picture for a sector that sold almost one third (31.6%) of physical albums in the UK as recently as 2015 (according to ERA). It was 27.4% last year, while the latest Entertainment Retailer Barometer from Kantar Worldpanel acknowledged the shrinking space for entertainment in supermarkets and showed Tesco’s share dipping across music, games and video, dropping to 10.3% in the 12 weeks to July 1, from 12.5% the previous year.
The share for Sainsbury’s (8.2%-7.3%), Asda (8.6%-7.3%) and Morrisons (4.3%-3%) also fell, with specialists HMV and Game the main beneficiaries.

It’s hard to blame the supermarkets for falling out of love with physical entertainment. They are in competition with online retailers such as Amazon and cheaper alternatives such as Lidl and Aldi, which puts pressure on every product that’s not delivering volume and margin. Right now, music delivers only occasionally on the former – The Greatest Showman, Now 100 and, perhaps Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again are the only albums you’d call supermarket blockbusters so far this year – and even more rarely on the latter (at least outside the grocers’ burgeoning vinyl sales).

The biz, meanwhile, has both eyes on streaming these days – and the success of The Greatest Showman on that format suggests even the natural supermarket consumer is now Spotify-compatible (or maybe Alexa-friendly). But the biz needs CDs to remain part of the supermarket mix, for essential gifting sales and for the sort of critical consumer mass that will help protect specialist retail from any domino effect.

It is, of course, streaming that’s powered the music biz boom of the last few years. But the biz has ditched formats too early before and lived to rue the consequences. Abandoning a section of consumers that may never embrace alternatives is not a move to be made lightly.

If the biz is serious about keeping physical music alive, there should be more grocer-friendly releases and campaigns, maybe even some exclusive editions. And they should happen fast: you suspect the supermarkets are just another lousy Christmas away from much more drastic cuts.

After all, as Tesco themselves would say, every little helps.
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___∆___
post Aug 10 2018, 04:03 PM
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Target in the US went through something similar (They were not getting enough $$ for the space) so they worked with record companies and now have exclusives on most big releases.

Acts like Taylor Swift, Adele, Janet Jackson, Cher etc., all had target only bonus tracks on their albums plus they have lots of other promotions (Sample CD with purchase etc.,).
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ThePensmith
post Aug 10 2018, 08:04 PM
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QUOTE(___∆___ @ Aug 10 2018, 05:03 PM) *
Target in the US went through something similar (They were not getting enough $$ for the space) so they worked with record companies and now have exclusives on most big releases.

Acts like Taylor Swift, Adele, Janet Jackson, Cher etc., all had target only bonus tracks on their albums plus they have lots of other promotions (Sample CD with purchase etc.,).


I agree, and I actually imported the Target version of Niall Horan's album to get the two acoustic tracks exclusive to that version. I know Sainsbury's already do that with certain albums - like the limited run of Kylie vinyls they've just done. They've also done some exclusives like they did a slipcase for one of Olly Murs' last albums.

One thing I will say is that it's been a good while since I last bought music in a supermarket, although Sainsbury's is the exception rather than the rule purely because of their vinyl selections. And I even noticed recently that they are more and more frequently only stocking guaranteed sales. My local Tesco didn't stock The Vamps' latest album, for instance.

Although it's good in some ways because that means music fans are supporting HMV and local record stores which can only be a good thing.


This post has been edited by ThePensmith: Aug 10 2018, 08:05 PM
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___∆___
post Aug 10 2018, 09:24 PM
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QUOTE(ThePensmith @ Aug 10 2018, 09:04 PM) *
Although it's good in some ways because that means music fans are supporting HMV and local record stores which can only be a good thing.


This!! Although I wish HMV done more exclusives with music tbh - they have such an opportunity to build on their momentum recently by having HMV only items - the only time they done it with an act I collect on is with Kylie’s Abbey Road album.
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ThePensmith
post Aug 10 2018, 09:59 PM
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QUOTE(___∆___ @ Aug 10 2018, 10:24 PM) *
This!! Although I wish HMV done more exclusives with music tbh - they have such an opportunity to build on their momentum recently by having HMV only items - the only time they done it with an act I collect on is with Kylie’s Abbey Road album.


They have done some exclusives with her latest album - they did a clear vinyl I believe. Likewise with Craig David's last album they bundled it with a free acoustic EP for a limited time. And Now 100 has been released with a free tote bag (not to mention the cassette reissue of Now 1).
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Aug 10 2018, 10:29 PM
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It's to be expected, I suppose.

Quite a surprise to see the company I work for mentioned in this article though. ohmy.gif
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dennispennis123
post Aug 10 2018, 11:15 PM
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Sainsburys have cut their range slightly but there is still a lot there. In my local supermarket, They have a top 100 range, a bay of classic cheaper CDs and a bay of classic and new release Vinyl albums.

Supermarket CD sales are always quiet in the summer and then pick up come Christmas when the big name artists start releasing their new material.
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___∆___
post Aug 11 2018, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE(ThePensmith @ Aug 10 2018, 10:59 PM) *
They have done some exclusives with her latest album - they did a clear vinyl I believe. Likewise with Craig David's last album they bundled it with a free acoustic EP for a limited time. And Now 100 has been released with a free tote bag (not to mention the cassette reissue of Now 1).


Yes they have had a few but just feel like they could do a lot more to make them the destination of choice for music buying. (The Kylie clear vinyl was available on her website and indies too - HMV could have cleaned up by having a coloured Vinyl exclusive!).
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vidcapper
post Aug 11 2018, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE(___∆___ @ Aug 11 2018, 11:19 AM) *
Yes they have had a few but just feel like they could do a lot more to make them the destination of choice for music buying. (The Kylie clear vinyl was available on her website and indies too - HMV could have cleaned up by having a coloured Vinyl exclusive!).


I bet it won't stop shops stocking Adele's next album, though. heehee.gif
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Robbie
post Aug 11 2018, 04:25 PM
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QUOTE(ThePensmith @ Aug 10 2018, 09:04 PM) *
I agree, and I actually imported the Target version of Niall Horan's album to get the two acoustic tracks exclusive to that version. I know Sainsbury's already do that with certain albums - like the limited run of Kylie vinyls they've just done. They've also done some exclusives like they did a slipcase for one of Olly Murs' last albums.

One thing I will say is that it's been a good while since I last bought music in a supermarket, although Sainsbury's is the exception rather than the rule purely because of their vinyl selections. And I even noticed recently that they are more and more frequently only stocking guaranteed sales. My local Tesco didn't stock The Vamps' latest album, for instance.

Although it's good in some ways because that means music fans are supporting HMV and local record stores which can only be a good thing.
The problem there is if you live in a town without a record shop. The population of my town is almost 70,000 yet the last surviving record shop was Music Zone and that closed back in January 2007. Unless the local Asda or Sainsburys stocks a CD the alternative is having to travel to Newcastle or Sunderland which would cost £7 return by bus - as much as the CD I would want to buy. That's why so many people I know use Amazon as it's cheaper and easier.
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Grandwicky
post Aug 12 2018, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE(Robbie @ Aug 11 2018, 05:25 PM) *
The problem there is if you live in a town without a record shop. The population of my town is almost 70,000 yet the last surviving record shop was Music Zone and that closed back in January 2007. Unless the local Asda or Sainsburys stocks a CD the alternative is having to travel to Newcastle or Sunderland which would cost £7 return by bus - as much as the CD I would want to buy. That's why so many people I know use Amazon as it's cheaper and easier.

Doesn't stop them using HMV online and Banquet though if they want to support record stores though does it? If it's cheaper at all then Amazon isn't THAT much cheaper and you can still use your Pure HMV card as well! (personally if I shop online I try to use a site that has a retail equivalent in general rather than Amazon due to tax avoidance, horrifying working conditions due to the worrying circumstances for retail in general)

I rarely buy records from supermarkets but we used to have four record shops and then for a long time we had none but we do have an independent one now but they stopped doing CDs last year which was annoying as I liked being able to get an album on the way home from work for the first time in ages sad.gif So it's either being to get to HMV or HMV online for me!
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Robbie
post Aug 12 2018, 10:48 AM
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QUOTE(Grandwicky @ Aug 12 2018, 10:05 AM) *
Doesn't stop them using HMV online and Banquet though if they want to support record stores though does it? If it's cheaper at all then Amazon isn't THAT much cheaper and you can still use your Pure HMV card as well! (personally if I shop online I try to use a site that has a retail equivalent in general rather than Amazon due to tax avoidance, horrifying working conditions due to the worrying circumstances for retail in general)

I rarely buy records from supermarkets but we used to have four record shops and then for a long time we had none but we do have an independent one now but they stopped doing CDs last year which was annoying as I liked being able to get an album on the way home from work for the first time in ages sad.gif So it's either being to get to HMV or HMV online for me!
I did once order something from HMV online - and it never turned up! That was my one and only experience of buying from their website. That said, it was a while ago as it was the CD single of 'The Journey Continues' by Mark Brown / Sarah Cracknell so that's early February 2008. I take it the service is better these days..! (to be fair I did get a refund from HMV without any hassle).
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Steve201
post Aug 12 2018, 02:11 PM
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Is HMV really an nice local record store though?

This post has been edited by Steve201: Aug 12 2018, 02:12 PM
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Doctor Blind
post Aug 12 2018, 02:41 PM
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QUOTE(Steve201 @ Aug 12 2018, 03:11 PM) *
Is HMV really an nice local record store though?


No it isn't, but it isn't HMV that has killed off the local record shop - it is the supermarkets - who have now muscled in on the vinyl revival just as it has become profitable again to do so, but do not stock a healthy variety of releases, merely the very mainstream and popular ones.

It was a sad day when Solo Music was finally closed in Devon a few years ago, I remember not even that long ago in 2008 when they had several stores not just in Barnstaple but in Exeter, and with that we had a few other independents plus Fopp and HMV which took over from Virgin Megastore/Zavvi. At least HMV did support and stock a wide variety of niche releases, though having said that I get most of my records online from the likes of Banquet Records these days.
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Crazy Chris
post Aug 12 2018, 02:58 PM
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The big Sainsburys at Beckton, East London, formerly a Savacentre, has a huge selection of CD's and a lot of vinyl too. Far more titles than Asda or Morrisons has ever had. They have all the chart albums, artists and compilation and lots of older albums at £3 and £5. In fact they seem to have more shelves now than ever. I love a good browse whilst the wife's looking at clothes if we go in the car together.

This post has been edited by Crazy Chris: Aug 12 2018, 02:59 PM
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