This week is a grim one in the music world, as we mourn the loss of one of the UK's most iconic brands. The public grief is evident on social platforms, but so are a lot of questions, with the most poignant one being: "When was the last time you went out and bought a physical CD at HMV?" Very good point you'd think but sadly it's a moot one. The world has changed and as a result so have we.
When I was fifteen I used to have a Saturday job at Wimpy on Walsall High Street where I'd spend hours serving up beefburgers and fish and chips and getting coated in grease for just £1.44 per hour. At the end of my shift I would walk straight to Sundown Records round the corner and chat to the guys in there about the latest releases and I'd spend most of the money I'd just earned in that shop.
But it was easy, I was a music fan and the only thing I was interested in spending my money on was music. I didn't need to buy the latest piece of technology or the coolest trainers, I just wanted to expand my ever burgeoning record collection. I have to admit to deserting Sundown Records though when Our Price opened as they were cheaper, although I stuck by Sundown for gig and festival tickets.
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The world today is very different. There are very few independent music stores left out there, iTunes lets you buy pretty much whatever you like whenever you like and supermarkets sell albums, games and DVDs as loss leaders, all in the name of convenience. And of course there are illegal downloads, which make it easy for you to get your hands on music for nothing, which is no different to cassette swapping in the playground. So I don't think blame should be centred on these things at all.
In my opinion there is one reason for the demise of HMV and most other conglomerates in the music business, and the hint is the word business. Music is a creative art and should be treated that way. It should be traded by people who have a passion for it and not treated as pawns in the corporate game. It shouldn't matter if people download it for free, it should be about people being able to hear it. And if you can make a living from it, bonus!
Now of course I'm not talking about the drivel that fills the mainstream airways and prime time TV these days, I'm talking about music that matters here. Rock and Metal will continue to be made and the fans will continue to buy it. Although it's sad that there won't be many places to go and browse physical releases anymore, there will still be a way for you to get it. And as technology continues to develop it will become even easier.
As much as I'd love to see HMV continue on our high street, I think their problems are too deep rooted, and it would take a huge investment to get it operating as a company designed for 2013. Let's not forgot one important fact as well; HMV has gone into administration, it has not closed down - yet. If the folks at Deloitte can do their job and find a new buyer or devise a restructure to save the jobs of over 4,000 people directly impacted, then it may not be the end for this longstanding high street giant and Nipper may well be set to live on.
Now of course, this is all just my opinion, so feel free to add your thoughts or share your record shop stories. I'm off to watch 'High Fidelity'.