With the news in the last few weeks of HMV’s administration, in England 60 redundancies including the CEO and in Ireland all doors have been shut from the entertainment business with around 300 staff being made redundant. For me HMV died long ago.
Since similar shop Virgin Megastore was bought out in September 2007 by Zavvi, which took the helm until February 2009 then folded due to loss of supplier and increase in downloadable goods. In this same time provincial HMV shops such as Norwich, Doncaster or Peterborough decreased their music section and increased selling DVD’s, video games, T-shirts, mugs, posters an other un-artistic profit making cash cows. This was perfect for someone wanting band paraphernalia or aiming to create an image of themselves by wearing a Ramones T-shirt to integrate into a certain social circle. Or create a stereotypical teenage bedroom with Radiohead posters and Sex Pistol mugs. Focusing on perception youth rather than their depth.
As the music section is diminished in floor space, the products on offer tend to be products that will sell effortlessly, such as the latest talent show hopeful’s new release, best of compilations or award-winning favourites. For someone wanting to buy different act from a bygone era or a current act, perhaps on an independent label, there would be little space. Or even more obscure albums from big name acts such as David Bowie or The Rolling Stones, such as Never Let Me Down or Bridges to Babylon would not appear in the racks.
…As the music section is diminished in floor space, the products on offer tend to be products that will sell effortlessly…
Perhaps one could order in more titles but would not receive the instant hit of receiving it straight away. Obviously the demand for these goods are far less than the aforementioned money spinners but there is still a market. Often one would have to turn to a pre-tax-avoidance-known Amazon.co.uk (obviously again not an instant buying hit but at least one get two thrills of ordering it then opening it in a semi-birthday like haze) or downloading the album at a lesser quality, miniscule artwork and no physical existence for backup.
So obviously it would be a great loss when, not if, HMV disappears from our high streets not least for the collector in physical music but for a greater diverse shopping experience within a bland line-up of disco like clothes shops or cosmetic parlours of uniformality. HMV was becoming increasingly homogenous in its taste and output of music that maybe a reason for its decline, perhaps not economically but culturally. The HMV stores most know and love is actually a memory, unless one live in London where a large selection is still on purchase, or clearance, and will soon be a memory.