19 Brown Street, Manchester M2 1DA
Opening Hours:Mon- Sat 10-6.30pm - Sunday 11-5pm
Telephone: 0161 830 7630
A bit controversial this one. We’re essentially about supporting Independent shops on this site, but we feature this one for completeness and I know for a fact that Fopp is a real draw with people from far afield making a special trip to pick up some bargains.
The history of Fopp is well known, they started out as an independent music chain based in Scotland and gradually opened a handful of branches around the country with a good reputation for stocking cheap, worthwhile back catalogue and new music, mostly on CD, but in a very appealing setting that had the real vibe of a traditional record shop. They were, for a time, the ideal destination for what the media called ’50 Quid bloke’, more than happy to while away an hour here filling the gaps in his Fall and Frank Zappa collection and perhaps taking a chance on a Grateful Dead CD for a fiver or picking up a DVD box set or two. Everything was £5, £7, or £10 at the most.
They eventually arrived in Manchester around 2005, on the same site that Piccadilly Records had once occupied on Brown Street and the shop, which incorporated a Cafe on the ground floor was a real delight. A very pleasant place to shop and it seemed to be doing a very brisk trade from the off in spite of the rapid demise of CD sales to Amazon and free downloads. Fopp was perfectly pitched and appealed to people who still enjoyed shopping for music and indeed price wise they were able to compete with Amazon and the supermarkets, and even undercut them on price at times.
In 2007 Fopp bizarrely decided to expand and acquired the Music Zone chain which had gone into administration (itself having rather unwisely swallowed up the troubled MVC chain) and Fopp suddenly found itself with a network of 67 new stores, just ahead of the recession and the meltdown of music retail. Needless to say it wasn’t long before Fopp went bust itself, the Manchester shop closed suddenly, with considerable outcry such was the affection for the shop from its shoppers.
At the 11th hour, HMV decided to take on a small handful of 10 or so of the Fopp branches and re-open them under the Fopp Brand, including the Manchester store. It remains open to this day.
It may be essentially and HMV shop with a nicer logo and in a more cosy and comfortable setting than their larger branches but nevertheless our Fopp shop is still undeniably a very nicely designed and pleasant place to shop, and it still seems to be doing brisk trade. Although it is owned by HMV, it retains the original Fopp idea of stocking lots of good stuff, cheap, and you will still find plenty of bargains and cool things here.
In these austere times 50 quid bloke is now probably 25 quid bloke but nevertheless, Fopp does what it does, and does it very well. We’re essentially about independent retailers here at RSC but nevertheless we still have a soft spot for this place and it still offers a safe haven on the high street to while away some time and take a chance on some early Talking Heads or Bob Mould solo CDs, and like it’s big brother has an ever-growing Vinyl selection of 180gm reissues (occasionally at tempting prices). Just remember to visit some of the proper Independent shops on our list too!