London's Forum, Apollo re-branded in light of HMV involvement

His Master's Voice - Painting: Francis James Barraud
His Master's Voice
Painting: Francis James Barraud

On January 14th, the book and music retailer, HMV, announced its new venture into live music territory by partnering with the MAMA Group (already owners of venues including the Barfly).

This new alliance will affect a dozen venues in and outside London, including Heaven - Westminster, The Garage, Jazz Café, Borderline, G-A-Y and G-A-Y Late, plus Edinburgh's Picture House - Edinburgh, Birmingham's Institute and Moshulu in Aberdeen, the Forum and the Hammersmith Apollo, which all have been acquired by Mama and HMV.

HMV will take half of the profits from this joint enterprise, which will come from merchandise sales, venue hire and tickets sales (now that the retailer has settled a deal with ticket agency Seatem).

Chief executive, Simon Fox explains HMV's new move by the fact "the physical music market is changing structurally, and we need to diversify. Live music is an important and growing part of the UK music market. It also delivers a younger demographic to our brand," he said.

Four of the newly "adopted" venues will therefore be re-baptised with the HMV stamp, making Edinburgh's Picture House, HMV Picture House, Birmingham's Institute, HMV Institute, Hammersmith Apollo, HMV Apollo, The Forum in Camden, HMV Forum... How cool! NOT.

Let's just hope this is blessing in disguise, and that none of these will face the same fate as the defunct Astoria.

Solange Moffi

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