You might have heard the news: HMV, the last major music store chain in the world, has closed its doors (for the moment) and entered administration protection. All the UK stores and websites are currently closed. Following the closure of other music chains like Tower, Virgin and many others, HMV’s troubles might not come as a big surprise to you.
A big surprise maybe not, but does it make it any less fuck*ng depressing for us music fans?
Seriously, it’s not that HMV was most music fans’ favorite store anymore but it does serve as a really telling sign that the record industry is in seriously bad shape. The fact that MTV hardly plays music anymore and that HMV made a significant shift from music to DVDs, headphones, video games should tell you about the complete downfall of these institutions in the last years. But fact is, for the music industry to be healthy we need “mainstream” tv and record stores. But as they have been respectively replaced by YouTube and Itunes the game has changed.
It’s one thing when the small record shops can’t compete with the big ones (75% of the independant music stores have closed down in the UK in the span of a couple years) but it’s quite another when the last standing giant is limping around on one broken leg. This tells us that it’s truly the end of an era, the end of a 10-15 year period that has hurt the recording industry in a lot of ways. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some good changes in this era but let’s be honest, most of them are good for the listener and pretty shitty for the industry itself.
I usually end these little rants on a positive note but I honestly don’t know what to end on today. It’s yet another big sign that the record industry is in serious trouble. I’m not talking about the 5% of music heads who are still buying records (physical or digital) but the fact is quite simply that the record store, for most people, does not have a place in the future… which is sad. Very sad.
And if this happens in the UK, arguably, the best music scene in the world then we are really in deep trouble.
HMV stores in the UK are currently under the administration restructuration from the Deloitte firm and the news is that Hilco UK has bought HMV’s debt and seized control and will start restructuring the company. (Hilco was also behind the exact same scenario of the “restructuration” of HMV Canada).
In any case, even if it does come back to life I doubt very much that the big idea in the corporate board room will be : “hey, it’s a music store! let’s go back to selling more music”…
I doubt very much that will happen. As brilliantly illustrated by the cartoon below.
Also, check this