Given that we are all about independent record shops, and those curious 2nd hand record haunts, you could be forgiven for thinking we would take the news of high street behmoth HMV calling in the administrators with a certain amount of glee.
Not so with HMV. There are no party poppers going off here. For a start, most importantly, there are over 4,000 jobs at risk. Secondly, that pretty much removes the last real supply chain from the high street and that can’t be good news for artists, record labels and distributors. While in the North West we are lucky to have a great network of shops, many parts of the UK will suddenly have nowhere at all to buy music or movies and that business will inevitably go to those tax-dodging, cardboard-wasting killjoys Amazon, or the bland CD racks of Tesco and ASDA. It also, potentially, means the demise of HMV owned Fopp which we have a soft spot for (and if nothing else, is a model of what HMV could have done if it had scaled back to it’s core business instead of trying to please all the people).
I can only hope, given that the demise of HMV has been on the cards for some years now, the music industry and other businesses that rely on them have got their business plans sorted out and ready for the inevitable. Lets hope that the damage on record labels, artists, publishers, producers, designers and distributors can be minimised.
It’s still early days, a buyer may come forward, or someone may take the chain on in a scaled down version and turn it around.
The media, and thousands of commentators who haven’t darkened an HMV shop for years will no doubt be mourning it’s loss in the morning, it will be as if music itself has died. It is not the end of music as we know it, and it isn’t the end of music retail.
Neil Saunders, the unimaginative and “retail analyst” that the BBC interviewed tonight says “The bottom line is that there is no real future for physical retail in the music sector,” . This comment comes in the same week that I have a backlog of new Record Shops to add to the site. We firmly believe there is still life left in selling physical music product, and it looks like the foreseeable future that may lie with the independent sector, so go forth, enjoy the shops that are left and buy stuff from them!