Canada loses its last record-store chain

Canada loses its last record-store chain


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2017

HMV has gone into receivership, with stores to close by April 3, 2017, reports MusicalToronto.

Don’t blame the owners. When was the last time you bought a record?


  • Ungeheuer says:

    I miss LPs

  • Mario Denis says:

    last week and not only LPs but CDs as well.
    Years ago they were the reference for Classical here in Montreal at least.
    I am not a big fan of streaming music so I spend a fortune on CDs and Vinyls.
    I will miss them dearly.

    • Mikey says:

      “Years ago”, yes.
      Then they merged the classical department with jazz and world music and all that ever played on the 2nd floor was jazz, hip-hop and “world music”. Never any classical.

      HMV’s prices also were quite high. Most of the time you could find better prices at Archambault (HMV is not Montreal’s only record store chain), and definitely on Amazon where there was always more choice.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Sorry to hear about this. The demise of “record” stores is the demise of classical music. Many of us who love classical music grew up in the 60’s and 70’s when there were real record stores where you could spend hours browsing the racks, reading the liner notes, discovering music new to you. I fondly remember whole rooms dedicated to classical where the salespeople (invariably male) were knowledgeable and helpful. There were books and magazines. Places like HMV and Tower were heaven. Browsing a streaming service like Spotify or iTunes just isn’t the same, but then I’m a dinosaur. There are few places left in the US to visit, but there are some great online stores. Thankfully Records International is still around!

    • Will Duffay says:

      I’m not sure that’s necessarily true. In the UK we have virtually no major record stores left – though lots of independents cling on in smaller towns – but people like me buy CDs online. Yes, we’re the reason HMV no longer exists or sells classical CDs, but it’s not because we’ve stopped buying them.

    • Anon says:

      The demise of one can hardly be linked to the demise of the other, even if the latter were in demise (I would contend that it isn’t).
      Online forums, immediate access to reviews and comment aplenty, and more, with the ability to sample from a far wider and more interesting range of recordings than any record store could hope to hold even if they were all available physically without having been deleted form the catalogue offers far more than a record store. Sure, it’s a different experience, and some will relate to it better, others worse. But it’s not like the access or guidance just stopped overnight, only that the form of delivery is changing, and in doing so, providing greater access, and access for more people who may not have lived near a town with a good record store and others besides.

    • Paul says:

      Frankly, I’m surprised they lasted this long.

    • Carlo says:

      I totally agree!

  • Brian B says:

    When was the last time I bought a record? If you mean CD, it’s been ages that I bought one in a brick and mortar store (virtually none left). But online? All the time. And vinyl and even shellac on eBay.
    And there’s still a great record store in Vancouver, BC which everybody should visit if you’re in the vicinity. Sikoras.

    • Ian M. says:

      Hurray for Sikora’s! Yes, I could probably spend less money by ordering my CDs and DVDs from amazon, but it’s worth the expense (not to mention the price of a transit ticket) to be able to browse Sikora’s racks, explore the New Releases, check out the bargains in the Used CD and LP section, etc.

  • Peter Phillips says:

    I buy online, mostly from Presto and, decreasingly, from Amazon. We still, however, have a HMV in my city so I try to buy from them also. Their prices are often lower than Amazon, especially when you add in postage. That said, my trade is surely not enough to keep their “Classical” section going and I would imagine that I’m in a very small minority anyway. My most recent purchase there was last Friday, following a number around Christmas

  • David Boxwell says:

    This anorak really misses the non-virtual experience of flipping through bins of actual discs (vinyl and silver) in the company of other anoraks.

  • Christopher CZAJA SAGER says:

    Another logical fact as the anglo-_American ‘culture’ there in Canada and the USA does not educate its young at earliest age with its European and own music culture.
    (95 % of the air waves and TV filled 24 hours a day with mechanical worthless ‘muzak’..)
    The dominant media , TV, press and radio and smart apparata transmitting superficial distraction. Your ikons, Madonna, m Jackson, Tom Cruise, and all the horrid rap-pop-heavy metal et al.
    Only hope today is in the Far East…………………….80% OF THE STUDENTS IN THE eUROPEAN AS IN ny studying ‘Western’ classical music from this part of the world.

  • Mikey says:

    As I stated in an earlier post, HMV is NOT “Canada’s last record store chain”.
    In Québec there is a very large chain called “Archambault” (who also sell sheet music, and musical instruments, as well as books).

    Archambault Musique has been around far longer than HMV, at least as far as Montreal is concerned.

    Archambault Musique also are considerably more involved in the artistic life of the province than HMV ever was. For example, they supplied (gratis) my music festival with a concert grand for 2 years running.

  • Emil says:

    Indeed – what about the giant Archambault Musique in Quebec? Their downtown Montreal store is massive and has a well-stocked classical section, with genuine experts.
    Who would’ve gone to HMV for classical music anyway? You were much more likely to find Bieber than Biber there.

  • Mervon Mehta says:

    Sad but, truth be told, HMV ceased to be a record store for anything but top 40 CDs and videos long ago. Thankfully those of us in Toronto still have the independent store Grigorian which boasts a wide selection of classical and jazz and employs a knowledgeable and helpful sales staff. I shop there often. Mr. Grigorian is a passionate supporter of Canadian artists & composers. Whatever he doesn’t have in stock will be ordered for you immediately. Old time customer service!