UK: The legendary retailer now co-owns 11 UK music venues, including the Hammersmith Apollo, writes David Davies. The development has come about through a new joint venture with music and marketing operation MAMA Group. Four venues, including Hammersmith Apollo, will be renamed to reflect the new arrangement.
In addition to the Apollo, the joint venture is now responsible for the ownership and operation of The Forum, The Garage, Jazz Caf_, Heaven, G-A-Y Bar, G-A-Y Late and The Borderline in London, along with The Picture House in Edinburgh, The Institute in Birmingham (formerly the Sanctuary), and Moshulu in Aberdeen.
Four of these venues will now be prefixed by 'HMV', namely Hammersmith Apollo, The Forum, The Institute and The Picture House. Temporary signage is already in place at the Apollo, and an HMV spokesperson tells PSN-e that the joint venture will be working closely with English Heritage as it develops permanent signage for listed sites, of which the Apollo is one.
The addition of further venues is a possibility, and the initial ten-year deal between HMV and MAMA Group allows for a further four sites to be branded under the HMV name.
"Music is very much part of our DNA, and by extending the HMV brand into the growing live music and entertainment market, our customers will be able as never before to access and experience music in all of its forms via HMV," commented Simon Fox, chief executive of HMV Group.
The deal with MAMA Group caps a productive period for HMV, which has so far bucked the trend of decline for UK high street music retailers. Sales in the UK and Ireland rose by 5.8%, over the crucial Christmas period, while the company recently acquired 14 stores formerly operated by competitor Zavvi, which went into administration on Christmas Eve. As of January 29, a total of 55 Zavvi stores have been closed from a peak-period network of 114.