HMV

Rudy Osorio, Commercial Director, HMV

What first led you into entertainment retailing?

When I think back to being a young kid over the Summer holidays I’d upturn the sofa cushions not to build a fort but instead a shop! I’d stock it with my parent’s books and LPs that I would then “sell” to my younger sister for monopoly money. I’m not sure I ever formed a conscious decision to pursue entertainment retailing as a career, but the ten year old me was drawn to it at a fundamental level.

How long have you been at HMV and what’s your role?

I joined HMV in October 1990, as a sales assistant in their Classical Music department at 150 Oxford Street. I spent six years in stores and then moved to head office as a buyer. More recently, after stints managing our Music and Video categories over about a decade, I became the Commercial Director in 2018.

What do you love about your job?

It’s a privilege to have a career where I can come into work every day and talk with my colleagues about Music, Films, TV, Games, new tech., etc. To work with people who share your passion, and not just about the content, but passion for great customer service too. 

Describe the HMV business

HMV is the UK’s oldest and largest specialist retailer of physical Music, Video, and entertainment related merchandise, with 129 stores and online channels. We’re also a collection of super fans!   

What is the main challenge for the entertainment retail industry today?

Piracy still thrives while entertainment markets treat consumers differently, especially in ways that consumers see as unfair. Digital windows, differences in territory release dates; in our global economy marketing and awareness can be instantaneous and the content can be out of step. A global release date for Music I think was the right step, albeit there are still challenges in aligning physical and digital release sometimes. I think the film industry needs to look at this seriously too. We’re now in a world where the top ten global video streaming traffic index has a file-sharing site in it, with more market share than Sky Go or Hulu.  

Apart from your own, what is your favourite entertainment retailer and why?

I can’t choose just one! I find it hard not to spend money every time I visit Drift in Totnes or Resident in Brighton. I can get lost for hours on Soundcloud and YouTube too. The common factor is music discovery. I don’t think there’s been a week in the last 20 years where I haven’t discovered something new to listen to, and that’s retail at its finest.

What was the first ever film and album you owned and where did you buy them?

As a kid I remember playing Bee Gees and Beatles cassettes ad infinitum. I‘d also be glued to the radio making my own recordings (I apologise for any copyright infringement). Though the first album I bought with my own money was REM’s Murmur, first single was U2’s Two Hearts Beat As One.

What non entertainment retailer do you admire and why?

This is really hard, because I am a very critical consumer. Many of the “obvious choices” like John Lewis or Apple have never even made my Top 10; I actually consider them pretty complacent when it comes to serving customers. It would be easier for me to name the sales assistants than the retailers. Because ultimately, we may talk about “bricks & mortar” but great retail is really about great people. So my answer is Misty at Asda, Kingston – I’ve never seen better retailing (outside of HMV of course!).

You’re stuck in a lift, name the book, album, film, game and person that you would like to have with you.

The album would be Nothing But Thieves’ Broken Machine. The film would be Kung Fu Hustle. The book would be The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. The game would be Clash Royale. I’d also bring my favourite podcast which is Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. The person would have to be my partner, because I am the worst person in the world at small talk.

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