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HMV about to enter adminastration!
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Fitter Stoke
Fitter Stoke
2359 posts

Edited Jan 16, 2013, 17:26
Re: HMV about to enter adminastration!
Jan 16, 2013, 11:03
I'm sad about it (a) for HMV's overworked, underpaid staff (I used to be one of them) who'll lose their jobs and (b) because it was our last chance to buy tangible music formats in most towns and cities - though arguably it was precisely HMV's ability to afford to site their stores in prime locations that saw off most of the great indie stores of the past, at least before the download era.

But it was inevitable. In fact, I'm amazed it kept going this long.

I wonder if HMV and the other major defunct chains missed a trick though. I wonder if it would have been practicable or workable for them to have installed web-connected posts in their stores, from which punters could have uploaded tracks, albums, games or films to their devices for a fee. Although most of us have online access, there's a whole load of people, particularly of the older generation (and I'm nearly there myself) who have neither the interest or desire to buy a PC and who now, as a result, will have no way of availing themselves of back catalogue music short of getting their savvy younger relatives to order it online for them.

HMV adopted the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach when they started flogging iPods (other, and better, mp3 players are available) a few years ago - but they should've gone further, and made it possible for customers to buy an iPod AND start to fill it up, there and then, with digital media sold on the premises. At the end of the day - and, sadly, it is exactly that now - HMV was a record store. A store that sold recorded music in every format...except - and my, it's a big except - downloads (and yes, I'm aware of their online presence, but that's not what we're talking about here).

Somewhere along the line, they lost the plot. I got tired of having to walk further and further into their shops to find a CD, the rack space for which diminished more and more until the selection barely bettered the chart foddered shelves of Asda and Tesco. Meanwhile, valuable floorspace was surrendered to bloody DVDs, games, sweets, cans of pop, mugs, posters, books, t-shirts and, latterly, gadgets - most of which could be bought elsewhere on the high street at more reasonable prices.

So yes, I'm sorry to read of HMV's demise. But, for all the inevitable talk of the digital revolution and economic recession, I can't help feeling they are the victims, at least in part, of their own business planning. And, whilst we may mourn them (and I will), they were usually bloody expensive places to buy a record, and (the odd very temporary offer excepted) remained so - even with, as in the last few days, 25% off their normal ludicrously high prices. Maybe that, above all else, sealed their fate.

I only hope that, with the end of their principal competition, a few enterprising prospective independent record shop owners get the chance to take their place, particularly given the current resurgence of interest in vinyl. The wheel (or maybe "disc" is more appropriate) will then have turned full circle. Wouldn't that be nice?
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