21 August 2019
HMVideal will reopen its doors on Friday after undergoing a HK$10 million renovation. Photo: EJ Insight
HMVideal will reopen its doors on Friday after undergoing a HK$10 million renovation. Photo: EJ Insight

HMV reinvents self to grow in YouTube era

Internet creates businesses, but it can also kill them.

Take the case of the music industry. For many music lovers, buying a CD of their favorite recording artist seems an expensive proposition when they can very well enjoy the music video on YouTube, or burn a copy for free from the many illegal music websites on the Web.

HMV Retail Ltd., which almost went bankrupt last year because of widespread piracy in the business, is quite aware of this. And so it is transforming itself from just an outlet of music CDs, DVDs and related items into a venue for live music. 

After undergoing a HK$10 million (US$1.29 million) facelift, its flagship HMVideal shop in Central will relaunch on Friday. Aside from offering its wide collection of music and videos, it will have a stage for bands to perform while drinks are served to guests, Ming Pao Daily reports.

“We will allow local bands to perform on our stage as there are not many platforms for local artists,” chief executive Ivy Wong was quoted as saying. “We expect to have at least one performance each week and we are fully booked until December.”

Britain’s HMV Group, which had 230 stores worldwide, entered into administration in January 2013, selling its six stores in Hong Kong to a local investor.

Despite the sad episode, HMV remains upbeat about the business. Locally, concerts still enjoy wide support from the public and record sales are climbing, says Wong.

She hopes the Central store will break even after a year, noting that a branch in Britain that underwent a similar renovation saw its income surge 75 percent to 700 million pounds (US$1.18 billion) in just a year.

In Hong Kong, sales of CDs at HMV have dropped 5 percent in the past three to five years. In fact, CDs account for 20 percent of its total revenue, while 45 percent comes from movie video discs, the report said.

If HMV thinks live music is the key to rejuvenate sales, a restaurateur in the United States believes a moveable venue for dining will solve the problem of rising rents.

Meet Brian Bordainick, founder of Dinner Lab, which pops up in different cities in the US twice a week, sometimes beside an art museum and sometimes at a construction site, to give the clients a different dining experience everytime, according to Apple Daily.

Bordainick invites part-time chefs in different cities to prepare the cuisine, basing their menu on Dinner Lab’s database where the views of members are kept. “For example, Korean food has the highest rating in New Orelands while Filipino or Mexican food is more popular in other places,” he tells the newspaper.

It’s a membership club. Each member pays a fee of US$100 to US$200, and they can check the menu and register for seats online. A five-course dinner costs can set you back by US$60 to US$85.

Dinner Lab now has more than 10,000 members and sees a monthly revenue of US$400,000.

Asked if the dining club has plans to pop up in Hong Kong, Bordainick says the former Police Married Quarters in Central may be a suitable place. But Dinner Lab is not yet thinking of expanding in Asia, and will try entering the Canadian market first, he says.

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HMVideal will feature a stage where live bands will perform and drinks will be served to guests. Photo: EJ Insight

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