HMV signs Newcastle-based singer India Arkin to new music label

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
India Arkin was signed by the label after performing in her local HMV store in Newcastle

Music and entertainment retailer HMV has launched a new music label, returning to making records for the first time in decades.

Named after the year its first shop opened, 1921 Records has signed Newcastle-based singer India Arkin.

The 22-year-old fine art student moved to the city in 2019 to study.

Doug Putman, who bought HMV in 2019, said the new label was an "exciting opportunity" for the brand to "hark back" to its roots.

"There is a huge amount of talent we have been keen to showcase in our stores and this is just strengthening our connection with artists," Mr Putman said.

The company planned to "walk before we can run", and would not be signing "huge numbers of massive artists" quickly, he said.

Arkin was signed by the label after performing in her local HMV store in Newcastle.

She appeared on BBC Radio Newcastle's Introducing programme earlier in the year, saying she was keen to use her art in her music and performances.

"I really want to try and push more experience-motivated gigs and do some weird stuff," she said.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Arkin said she wanted to use her fine art skills in her music

The label has been named after the year The Gramophone Company opened its first His Master's Voice (HMV) shop on London's Oxford Street.

The company later joined Columbia Gramophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries, commonly known as EMI.

HMV remained linked to EMI's record label business until EMI's merger with Thorn in 1979.

The high street firm has pledged to focus further on live music and has more than 100 gigs planned in stores on National Album Day on 15 October.

It would also continue to invest in vinyl records, following strong sales growth, Mr Putnam said.

HMV has 115 shops across the UK, opening nine in 2022 and planning three more before the end of the year.

Mr Putman said it could expand to between 130 and 135.

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