HMV: Elton John steps in to help stricken music chain

Feb 20, 2013

Singer among A-listers willing to support ailing music chain with in-store gigs

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SIR ELTON JOHN plans to perform a secret gig in one of HMV's stores in a move which could throw a lifeline to the ailing music chain.

According to David Joseph, chief executive of the singer's label Universal UK, Sir Elton suggested leading artists perform live in stores to encourage fans to shop at the beleaguered business. Joseph told the Guardian: "We've got lot of artist support for HMV. Last week one of our biggest global superstars [Sir Elton] said why don't we get a lot of the biggest artists to start doing gigs in HMV, just to turn up and say these are music stores, come and get your music here."

Joseph said while he was hoping for HMV to have a "6 Music moment" – as when artists and fans helped save the BBC radio station from the threat of closure in 2010 – he believed the store had "lost its way". He went on: "The way they survive is not to try to be Athena posters, Dixons, Apple and HMV all at the same time. They have to curate music. The conversations we have had which are healthy are about restoring it to its core values."

Sir Elton's spokesperson Guy Farrow confirmed to NME the superstar would be doing "something" with HMV, "although as yet we cannot confirm what or when that would be".

The news comes as administrators from Deloitte are cutting the number of HMV branches from 220 to 150 in the next few weeks, with more than 1,000 jobs lost so far. The 92-year-old chain had been struggling for years before going into administration. The rise of digital downloading and success of online firms such as Amazon, as well as competition from supermarkets like Tesco, had destroyed its business model. Hilco, a specialist investor in distressed retail groups which has acquired HMV's secured debts, is likely to emerge as owner of the brand in the UK.

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