HMV Has Launched Its Own Record Label Called 1921 Records

The entertainment retailer’s first signing through the new imprint is 22-year-old Newcastle singer-songwriter India Arkin. She was discovered after playing in the HMV Live & Local programme.

Arkin’s debut studio album ‘Home Truths’ will be released to coincide with National Album Day 2022 on October 15. It’ll be available exclusively on vinyl in HMV stores across the UK and online. Pre-order here.

Doug Putman, owner of HMV, said: “India’s music is absolutely incredible and we’re thrilled to make her our first 1921 Records signing. She has such passion for her craft, and she’s a true musician who writes, plays instruments and performs.

“We’re really proud of our HMV Live & Local programme, which sees artists like India given the same platform as the international artists who come to our stores, like Charli XCX and Yungblud. India’s performances in Newcastle got rave reviews from our staff and led to her being signed today.”

Arkin commented: “I’m thrilled to be releasing my debut album with 1921 Records, and it’s almost unbelievable that gigs in the store in HMV Newcastle would lead to this. I can’t wait to see my record on the shelves and tour the country performing with my band.”

As for the company’s wider plans for 1921 Records, HMV will focus on promoting debut albums by smaller grassroots acts.

“With our new label, we want to do what we can to help debut artists make their mark in a tough industry,” Putman explained. “Streaming algorithms mean it’s hard for new artists to get their voices heard, so we’re giving them the chance to get their albums in our stores where music fans can discover them for themselves.

“This is just the beginning for 1921 Records – it’s our mission to get more fantastic albums by debut artists into the homes of music fans. HMV is leading the way in the vinyl revival, so it makes sense for us to create our own label and promote the music we know our shoppers care about.”

To mark this year’s National Album Day, more than 100 live shows are due to take place at HMV shops in the UK.

The name of HMV’s new record label is a nod to the retailer’s roots, with 1921 being the year that The Gramophone Company opened His Master’s Voice on Oxford Street in central London.

HMV reached its 100th anniversary last year. As part of the celebrations, Ed Sheeran performed a special in-store concert at the HMV Empire in Coventry. The company also opened shops in 10 new locations.

In 2019, HMV closed 27 of its stores after falling into administration. Putnam, an entrepreneur and owner of Canadian chain Sunrise, secured a rescue deal for HMV at the time and has since been plotting ways to revive it.

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