HMV and independents urged to work together to save in-store music market

HMV store in Dundee The HMV store in Dundee is one of 21 around Scotland and 239 in the UK as a whole

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Independent record shops must work with HMV in administration to help save the in-store music market, Edinburgh entrepreneur Kevin Buckle has urged.

But he said: "I hope we don't return to the position where HMV are given preferential terms - there's got to be a level playing field."

Mr Buckle has decided against the closure of his Avalanche store in Edinburgh.

"I was calling for independents to work with HMV about four or five years ago," he told BBC Scotland.

Mr Buckle had made the suggestion while heading a UK-wide coalition of independent record shops in talks with the Entertainment Retail Association.

He explained that the idea of independents and high street retailers working together to promote the sale of CDs and vinyl failed to materialise to combat the trend towards online deliveries and downloads.

OneUp to close

But Mr Buckle thinks it could now find favour, building on the annual Record Store Day.

"The record companies should be highlighting the high street and HMV would be the major beneficiaries of that," he said.

"For it to work in the future, there would have to be an HMV as there are not enough independents.

"Record companies would like to help but call us collateral damage and we're fed up being collateral damage."

HMV's announcement coincided with Aberdeen independent store OneUp announcing that it will close on 31 January.

Fopp in Byres Road, Glasgow HMV owns the two Fopp stores in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh

"It is such a loss to Scotland," Mr Buckle said of the decision by his friend, Raymond Bird.

"I thought the HMV thing would be in his favour and he might have just moved to smaller premises."

Like Mr Bird, Mr Buckle had announced several months ago that closure of his business was a possibility come January.

However, Avalanche had a more successful festive period than expected and its owner believes that this was down to HMV and its Fopp subsidiary running out of stock as it faced increasing financial problems.

Avalanche did close on 6 January but will reopen on Friday after a refit designed to concentrate further on diversifying into vintage clothing, posters, band showcases with entry fees and its own website.

HMV 'will scale down'

"We are hoping to stabilise what we are selling and expand the areas that are not HMV-Fopp dependent, or dependent on big releases," explained Mr Buckle, who is world-renowned for promoting and releasing music by Scottish music artists.

"The most likely scenario is that that HMV will scale down to 60-80 shops - that would be quite a lean and viable proposition.

"People want HMV to survive but want some of their business and it's unfair when they are selling CDs for £3 that I have to pay £3.30 plus VAT for.

"In the short-term, we only need a tiny amount of their business to make a big difference.

"But the general consensus is that those who shop in stores are those who do not shop online.

"What will happen is that some will come to the independents, which will do us good.

"Some will buy online, but the vast majority well not buy music at all, which taken together will result in a strong decline in sales."

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