HMV UK filed for bankruptcy this week, the last great record chain to throw in the towel. I spent ten years helping them expand worldwide during the 90’s, fueled by the growth of CDs. The news of HMV’s closing was like hearing about a death in the family.
I joined HMV’s UK headquarters in 1989. Within a few years, HMV exploded into France, Canada, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, with ambition for much more. There were three international companies rolling out superstores at that time: HMV, Virgin and Tower. I was part of a team that raced around the world establishing HMV’s flagship locations.
The growth reached such a frenzy that at one point I recall just after the Berlin wall had fallen, a rumor that Branson had done a deal in Moscow, despite no means of repatriating profit. Word was, he would trade cash for gasoline to run his airline.
I jetted around the globe from Sydney to Paris helping establish a foothold for the company. At the pinnacle of HMV’s growth, it was holding secret negotiations with Tower. That deal, for almost $700 million, fell apart at the last second. Tower filed for bankruptcy just six … Read the rest