It is the latest blow to hit the high street following the collapse of electricals chain Comet in December and camera retailer Jessops last week.
HMV, which first opened 92 years ago, has 22 stores north of the Border including in Buchanan Street, Glasgow, Edinburgh's Princes Street and some of the country's busiest shopping malls. In total, it has 240 stores in the UK and Ireland.
Accountant Deloitte has been appointed administrator after the firm failed to persuade suppliers to pay £300 million to help it pay off its bank debt and fund an overhaul of the company's business model.
Trading in HMV shares on the London Stock Exchange were also suspended last night.
HMV said in a statement: "The board regrets to announce it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection."
It added that the stores would remain open while a buyer was sought.
The retailer, which has been hit by the move towards purchasing music, films and games online, has been discounting heavily to compete with rivals.
Concern over HMV's future deepened in the past few days as it launched a major sale, prompting further fears about its stability.
On Friday, Jessops closed with the loss of 1400 jobs. HMV's chief executive Trevor Moore had only recently joined the company from Jessops, where he held the same post.
Electrical retailer Comet also closed last month, with the loss of 7000 staff.
Last year also saw the failure of well-known high-street stores JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Game Group, Peacocks and Blacks Leisure.