Billy Hydes / Allans in receivership

By New Tim Topham | Piano Teaching

Aug 23

Mainly of interest to Australian readers: if you haven’t already heard, Allans and Billy Hyde Music has gone into receivership with debts of 4 million. There was talk of this for sometime so it’s no real surprise to many teachers…

Can’t say I’m too sad about it (except on behalf of staff) as they were always very expensive and customer service tended to be hit and miss. I think they probably just misjudged everyone’s move to buy music, sheet music and even instruments online.

Here’s hoping for some big clearance sales in the coming months!!

AFR media release.


About the Author

Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Robin

    Tim interesting comments, I will be very sad if they go……who can get retail, in this day and age perfect, with so much online shopping……now lets look at them disappearing,as you are a teacher are…… (or should be) interested in your students musical education and performance opportunities…….Q.L.D piano competetition no more sponsering, Childrens Band Festival in the Brisbane Mall gone, EKKA (5,000 young school children performing) gone, Music teachers association of QLD sponsership, gone – countless donations to school prgrammes for music ….gone PLUS Victorian band festival and many many more…..gone all over Australia….all sponsored by a company which you are not to sad about failing….well go to the Government and find the money or even better ask the online stores to come up with the vast amount of money this company has put back into the community music programmes…..and lastly please do not complain in the future that such programmes giving our young musicians performance avenues hasvanished.

    • Hi Robin thanks for your views. Has it been confirmed that all these events are going to be cancelled? I’d be very surprised if other sponsors don’t see a financial interest in continuing to support these events. And I’m sure that BH wasn’t the only source of their existence in any case.

      My original comments were based purely from a retail side (not matters of philanthropy). The Billy Hyde situations means that smaller, independent retailers, many of whom I believe do a better job anyway, may now have more of an opportunity to expand their businesses and enter new markets. In turn, as their businesses hopefully grow and they expand further into online markets as well, they’ll become the supporters of future events.

      I have never complained about performance opportuninties for students (or myself) and don’t plan to start now! I’m a firm believer that musicians these days have to make many of their own performance opportunities if they are to succeed.

  • Just a correction – not debts of 4 million, its 42 million, 27million of which is to the capital finance company who pulled the pin. Sad day indeed, but ever since the company brought in venture capital firms to run the place (and this was back in 2007-2008 and prior to the merger) things started to unravel.

    Online retail is still only between 6 – 10% where music is concerned. People are on the forums talking about how they buy gear from overseas, but then fail to realise that any warranty issue will not be dealt with here, it has to go back to place of purchase. It can end up costing a lot more than what you thought it would 🙂 Not saying that the prices here are not expensive but people also need to understand that it’s economy of scale. We represent about 1% of the world market in music equipment etc, so we simply do not bring in as many units as someone would buy in the USA, so unit costs tend to be higher (ie less volume discount) The freight is a killer when bringing in container loads – and remember wholesalers DO have to pay import duties unlike someone buying a single instrument and underdeclaring the value. With most suppliers being in the USA for instance it’s going to be naturally cheaper over there. Prices go up too when you have one wholesaler in the USA selling to another wholesaler here and then onto the stores, rather than just the general wholesaler to store in the USA. Plenty of reasons indeed, but this chain fell apart with lack of customer service, cash flow issues, and many other matters that drove customers to other stores. I’ve been in music retail for over 20 years (including big stints at Allans and Billy Hyde before they merged)

    • Hey Ewan – great to get a retailer’s perspective and see what you are doing at

      Totally understand everything that you’re saying about costs and market size. I guess it’s the same with the manufacturing sector these days – everything is cheaper to produce and distribute overseas than in Australia, which leaves you guys with a tough job to compete.

      I’m fairly judicious about what I purchase online. I tend to buy instruments and big ticket items here due exactly to your comment about warranties. On the other hand, buying things like books online makes perfect sense to me given retailers such as the Book Depository offer incredibly cheap prices with free delivery.

      I doubt there’s any way you could compete with that, so I guess it’s about offering something more, or something different with Australian-based online and retail stores. Quicker delivery is one great advantage, so is customer service.

      All the best with it – I’ll make sure I pop in when I’m next in Hawthorn!