High street chain reclaims title from Amazon
Elliot Mitchell

13:30 18th January 2015

HMV has reclaimed its title as Britain's biggest retailer of physical music, overtaking Amazon.

A rise in sales at Christmas has reportedly put the high street shop back on top, despite the fact its now operating with a third less shop space than when the company went into administration in 2013.

The retailer has reported that it saw a rise of 1.5% in CD sales over the christmas period, and a whopping 170% rise in the sale of vinyl, seeing the highest figures since the mid-90's, a somewhat unsurprising fact after it was revealed in November that vinyl sales for the year in the UK had topped the one million mark for the first time in 18 years.

Back in September, HMV boss Paul Mcgowan predicting this outcome, telling The Telegraph: "It's only a matter of time before we overtake Amazon, HMV is re-engaging with music shoppers and getting them back into shops. This is about being an authority in music, not selling music as a commodity."

Speaking once again in the wake of this announcement, Mcgowan promised that HMV will continue to maintain the title, explaining to The Telegraph: “With a bumper year of new releases already planned for 2015 we expect to have overall growth in like-for-like DVD and Blu-ray sales as well as continued growth in the physical music sector with vinyl also expected to continue its revival.”

Amazon are yet to comment.

  • Aphex Twin - Caustic Window: Recently sold for a whopping $46,300 dollars to the creator of Minecraft on eBay, this compilation of acid house-techno is an ultra rare piece from an already enigmatic producer. It is one of two albums made under the Caustic Window moniker and it never actually saw a release, only the Aphex's Rephlex label employees received a copy. Supposedly there are only five vinyl copies in existence as it never made it pas the test pressing phase, until recently it was regarded as "lost".

  • David Bowie - Diamond Dogs (uncensored editition): The cover for this classic album features the thin white duke pictured as a human dog hybrid. Originally the artwork featured a dogs *ahem, full anatomy, but this was regarded as too offensive by label RCA. despite this a few copies made it to retail and are now valued at around $2,500-$7,500 depending on condition.

  • Elvis Presley - Stay Away Joe Promotional Album: This one of a kind record was originally pressed 5 November, 1967, at a Cottonwood, Arizona, radio station and contains a 30-minute radio program that includes nine Elvis gospel songs and promotes the Presley movie "Stay Away, Joe". It also comes with a note on the inside that it be returned to Col. Parker's office after it is played. Found in his estate in 1999 it is valued at upwards of $25,000.

  • Acetate disk - The Quarrymen: The band that would in part go on to be The Beatles recorded this piece in 1958 with "That'll Be the Day" on one side and "In Spite of All the Danger" on the other. It's the sole result of the group's first recording session and was sold to Paul McCartney by pianist John Duff. It is worth around $200,000 but remains in Paul McCartney's private collection. He remastered the original and passed out the recording to his friends.

  • Sex Pistols - 'God Save the Queen' (A&M Records promo): Originally the Sex Pistols were signed to A&M Records, however they were swiftly fired for bad behaviour. Before they went however they recorded a version of 'God Save the Queen' that never saw release. It was later given as a gift to employees when the company closed in 1998. Now the dozen or so copies fetch around $20,000 each.

  • The Beatles - Yesterday and Today (Original Cover): When the album first came out John Lennon didn't want it to go to retail unless it featured this rather terrible cover that featured the band posing with raw meat and dolls heads. Safe to say everyone hated the cover and it was switched back to the one that fans know and love today. A mint condition copy of this iteration sold for $38,800 in 1996.

  • Velvet Underground and Nico - Acetate LP: Only one copy of this record exists, but one incredibly lucky owner picked it up for 75 cents with two records and went on to sell it for $25,200 in 2006. It is an early version of the band's debut album, which Andy Warhol acting as agent hauled around to record labels in order to pitch the band. It differs from the actual release with a more bluesy feel on the songs and a different running order.

  • Wu-Tang Clan - Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The rap group worked on this album for years, stating that music should be regarded as high art in the same way as art or literature. In order to accomplish this they recorded a one of a kind album for sale to the highest bidder, encased in the rather nifty box above. According to the RZA, he has already had an offer of $5 million, which would make it the most expensive vinyl of all time.

  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy (signed): What makes this version unique is that it was signed by Lennon for David Chapman hours before he was shot outside his New York apartment building. This very vinyl was then used in the subsequent court case as it had Chapman's fingerprints on it alongside Lennon's signature. In 1999 it sold for $400,000 at auction.

Photo: WENN