The firm has called in KPMG and the moveÂ involves 2,200 staff at 125 stores including Doncaster's Frenchgate Centre.
Owners Hilco, which took the company out of its first administration in 2013, blamed a "tsunami" of retail challenges, including business rate levels and the move to digital.
It said the stores would continue to trade while negotiations were held with major suppliers and it looked for buyers.
HMV said there had been an extremely "weak Christmas footfall and a further deterioration in the UK market for CD and DVD".
Paul McGowan, executive chairman of HMV and its owner Hilco Capital, said: "Even an exceptionally well-run and much-loved business such as HMV cannot withstand the tsunami of challenges facing UK retailers over the last 12 months on top of such a dramatic change in consumer behaviour in the entertainment market."
He pointed out HMV sold 31% of all physical music in the UK in 2018 and 23% of all DVD and Blu-ray with its market share growing month by month throughout the year.
But he added that the industry consensus is that the market will fall by another 17% during 2019 and therefore it would not be possible to continue to trade the business.
BBC Money Box presenter and financial journalist Paul Lewis has advised people to use any HMV gift cards immediately.
According to consumer publication Which?, whether vouchers and returns will be accepted following administrationÂ depends on the administrators.
Their role is to "try and save the company", and in doing so, they "may take the decision not to accept returns".
HMV, known for its iconic logo featuring the "dog and trumpet", is Britain's last surviving national music retailer.
It was launched by English composer Edward Elgar in 1921, selling gramophones, radios and popular music hall recordings.