The death of HMV: how will it affect the music industry

HMV has finally done what it has been threatening to do for years and joined Woolworths, Zavvi and Johnny Borrell in the long list of things which only mattered in the noughties. It’s a terrible tragedy for the musical world (or, in truth, the physical CD world) and will no doubt have repercussions on the British industry as a whole.

Ignoring the human impact of HMV calling in the administrators and the fact that a colossal 4500 people are set to lose jobs, statistics show that HMV are responsible for 40% of the physical music sold in the UK. That’s a huge gap to fill for everyone: record labels will lose their biggest customer and consumers will lose their largest supplier. Whilst it’s all very well saying the HMV decline is ‘tragic’ and ‘a great shame’, did you really buy anything from there?

Most consumers, like myself, were rapidly treating HMV as a last resort. Amazon and have been my port of call for CDs for a long time. Most people spend time in HMV as nothing more than an exercise of passing the time (I often see University students perusing the aisles on their free periods, picking up Linkin Park deluxe CDs at £15.99 a pop before uttering “fuck off” and then shuffling along to Starbucks where they’d instagram a picture of their latte). Even when HMV did their sales and 2-for-£10 idea, you sensed the desperation. Nobody in their right minds would pay a tenner for a 2007 Killers CD and Hadouken!’s debut.

That said, HMV will be missed. The days of the physical purchase are well and truly over but there is still hope. Whilst HMV may not close, independent record shops will surely boom from the death of one of its great competitors. What can you do to help? Get down your local independent record shop and have a flick through the racks.

But… Aren’t independent record shops grubby, old-fashioned and backward? Well, yes and no. Going to independent record shops are a glorious affair. It’s where you can mingle with the people behind the cash register, who often give you recommendations and have background knowledge of the artists you are buying. They need your support and money to continue to stay alive. The annual Record Store Day helps, but only so much. They need a new breed of custom from young people who are bothered about music.

The majority won’t care about HMV’s demise (especially those reading this on their beds with their hand on their crotch as they YouTube convert the latest Bruno Mars album). Why should they? But if you are one of the people who has lambasted their decision to call the administrators, have a long think about why they have had to resort to this. In short: you weren’t spending enough money in their stores. What can you do now? Go and support your independent record stores. In truth (and I don’t want to come across all Children In Need here, but…) your support can make all the difference and stop physical music becoming obsolete.

James Daniel Rodger
Dance Yrself Clean

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