Fac­ing the mu­sic

Sun­rise Records to move into 70 HMV lo­ca­tions that are clos­ing

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT - BY DAVID FRIEND

Sun­rise Records is plac­ing a ma­jor bet on Cana­dian mu­sic sales with plans to move into 70 re­tail spa­ces be­ing va­cated by HMV Canada.

The On­tario-based mu­sic re­tail chain has ne­go­ti­ated new leases with mall land­lords across the coun­try.

Sun­rise’s ex­pan­sion gives the com­pany a quick foothold in the Cana­dian mu­sic scene just as the in­dus­try’s largest re­tailer closes shop. Stores will be­gin to open this spring af­ter HMV liq­ui­dates and re­moves its signs.

“It’s a good op­por­tu­nity for us to get a lot more stores open,” Sun­rise Records pres­i­dent Doug Put­man told The Cana­dian Press in an in­ter­view.

“We think there needs to be a great out­let across Canada to buy mu­sic.”

The 32-year-old ex­ec­u­tive’s in­vest­ment comes at a time when many are dis­miss­ing phys­i­cal mu­sic sales as more lis­ten­ers shift to stream­ing op­tions.

Com­pact disc sales fell 19 per cent to 12.3 mil­lion units last year, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by Nielsen Mu­sic Canada. Mean­while, on­de­mand au­dio streams ex­pe­ri­enced dra­matic growth, ris­ing 203 per cent to 22 bil­lion streams, helped by ser­vices like Ap­ple Mu­sic and Spo­tify.

Put­man isn’t con­vinced the data sig­nals the end of phys­i­cal me­dia.

“A lot of the younger con­sumers still love hav­ing some­thing tan­gi­ble,” he ar­gued.

Put­man has long be­lieved in buy­ing mer­chan­dise you can hold in your hands. He grew up work­ing at the fam­ily busi­ness, Ever­est Toys, a man­u­fac­turer and dis­trib­u­tor based in An­caster, Ont.

He bought the Sun­rise chain from Mal­colm Perl­man in Oc­to­ber 2014 just as stream­ing was go­ing main­stream. Perl­man had spent the pre­vi­ous few years shut­ting down most of the Sun­rise stores in the Toronto area, of­ten blam­ing higher rent.

When Put­man gained con­trol of the com­pany, there were five Sun­rise Records stores left. He’s since dou­bled the num­ber by open­ing in On­tario cities like Ot­tawa and North Bay. He said all of those stores are prof­itable.

His ap­proach is a de­par­ture from the fi­nan­cials at HMV Canada.

In court doc­u­ments filed last month, HMV painted the im­age of a hem­or­rhag­ing busi­ness where sales were pro­jected to slide to $190 mil­lion in 2016, af­ter grad­u­ally weak­en­ing over the pre­vi­ous cou­ple of years.

CP PHOTO

An HMV out­let is seen at the Mic Mac Mall in Dart­mouth, N.S. on Fri­day. Sun­rise Records is plac­ing a ma­jor bet on Cana­dian mu­sic sales with plans to move into 70 re­tail spa­ces be­ing va­cated by HMV Canada.

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