If you’ve been on Market Street recently dodging the charity muggers and the tone deaf accordion players you may have noticed a new Music Shop. ‘Thats Entertainment’ has emerged from the ashes of what was once Music Zone, the (actually quite splendid) budget priced music chain that ate MVC..went bust, and was then eaten by Fopp…who quickly went bust themselves. The people behind Music Zone reappeared as online service ‘Music Magpie’ which specialises in buying CDs in bulk, often at prices so low you may as well give them to Oxfam. They pay 30p for your bog standard chart CD, a bit more if it’s something more desirable or rare. Nevertheless they seem to have made some sort of business out of it, and have amassed enough stock to open a chain of retail stores. ‘That’s Entertainment’ basically sell second hand CDs, DVDs and games..or as they call it ‘Replay’. The electronic games industry has sold ‘pre-owned’ games in mainstream stores for years but this is first time I recall seeing second hand music sold in a High Street chain store.
What is interesting is that they have rather cheekily opened up directly across the road from troubled HMV’s flagship Manchester store, and are undercutting their prices massively albeit with used product. CDs are priced from 99p to £3.99. The pricing can be summed up by their David Bowie selection. ‘Never Let Me Down’ is 99p. ‘Earthling’ and ‘Pin Ups’ is £1.99. ‘Hunky Dory’, ‘Low’ and ‘Scary Monsters’ = £3.99. You get the picture.
Vinyl lovers will be disappointed, this is entirely CDs but it’s a huge selection over two floors and I’m pretty sure there is more music in here than in the much larger HMV shop over the road. You won’t find many sought after gems, and there is awful lot of mass produced late 90s/early 00s stuff from the last days of the CD boom…stacks of Oasis ‘Be Here Now’, Toploader, Robbie Williams and Dance compilations but if you have some time to spare there are definitely bargains to be had. I picked up the deleted (and unlikely to be re-released) Orb Live ’93 double set for £1.99..ten pounds less than iTunes are charging for it, and the Beatles at the BBC for £5. These were good as new but worth checking the merchandise before you buy as some of the inlays and discs have seen better days. Given the overwhelming ‘mainstream’ feel to the stock and the complete lack of Vinyl I don’t think the independent second hand record shops like Vinyl Exchange, Clampdown and Vinyl Revival should be too worried about the new competition, but nevertheless, if you’re after a hard copy of something not too obscure it’s worth a visit.
An interesting development. Word reaches us that Fopp are now buying second hand CDs, not sure if their big brother HMV is planning on doing the same…