Sunday, 20 January 2013

Dear music industry, hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Last week saw the (un)surprising announcement that HMV were completely buggered, they owe millions of pounds in debt and their suppliers were refusing to help - administration was the only nightmarish path left for them to go down.

Ever since, I've seen opinions on different scales of how it is a good/bad thing that the entertainment retailer is joining the heap of other high-street chains that failed. What it has made me realise, is that there are an awful amount of musical snobs around. I'll raise my hands up and say, yes I can be one too, at times. At the end of the day, though, the closing of HMV stores will impact the music industry, what is unknown is how.

Don't get me wrong, I've wandered into HMV many a time to be disappointed by the fact they have zero albums that I wish to buy. Then again, I've come out with armfuls of CD's, DVD's and books, it's my go-to for Christmas presents and it doesn't leave me feeling incredibly self-conscious about my body because I couldn't squeeze into THAT dress or THOSE jeans. I spent my teenage years browsing the record shelves, purchasing films from my childhood and squeeing over the newest music devices (yes I did just use the word 'squeeing'). Does it make me a bad person for suckering into the high street? No, because I also spent my allowance as a teen going to my local indie record stores purchasing gig ticket after gig ticket.

It's no lie that record sales have been declining for years, thanks to the internet and digital takeover, CD's are no longer a want because, well it's much easier to click 'buy' on iTunes and put it straight onto your phone/iPod right? Personally I still adore the excitement of getting my hands on a hard-copy of an album, even if I have to wait a while until I can afford it. My car is littered with CD's, ranging from Avril Lavigne's 'Let Go' to Alt-J, Don Broco and Straight Lines' albums, you might even find the odd EP lying around. I listen to them all, they accompany me on my drives across the country and save me from severe road rage. As long as they're still accessible, I will still buy CD's.

As long as they're still accessible....... HMV is still responsible for 35% of record sales. What happens to that 35% when they're gone? Go to an independent record store you say? Well, Rounders Records of Brighton, where I spent plenty of time, had to shut it's doors after 46 years of trading; the closest thing to a record store in Portsmouth is Pie&Vinyl, a fantastic store that has seen praise (and visits) from Phil Jupitus. But it's focus is vinyl (and scrummy pie's), not CD's.

Banquet Records, Rough Trade, Rise Records - all brilliant record stores holding strong throughout this downfall and I high five the lot of them. Though for me, to get there, I have at least a 2 hour train journey ahead of me and an album that should cost me £8-£15 has cost me nearly £50 including travel. Of course there is online, I will always have online. But where's the fun in that? I want to lose myself amongst those record shelves, look at the local gig line-up and rummage in my purse to see if I can afford to see that really good band, playing that really awesome venue. I want to run home with my new goodies and play them REALLY loud, because although I couldn't pull off those skin tight, leather look, studded, dip-dye, everyone's wearing them jeans, I have music and it won't judge me.

So to all you folks who have been "HMV WAS RUINING MUSIC ANYWAY" get your nose out the air. Yes, it didn't always stock the bands/artists we wanted, but it helped a great deal. Once the Portsmouth stores are gone, I have nowhere to shop and that saddens me. It's a bit like losing a friend you knew you could always count on.

Dear music industry, hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

What are YOUR thoughts on HMV going bust?

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  1. The news about HMV made me feel incredibly guilty for the fact that I've been relying more and more on itunes etc for my music out of convenience despite maintaining that you really can't beat having a 'proper' copy of your cds. Its been a sad week for music.
    Kaz x

  2. Great post.^^
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  3. I think it's really sad this is happening, I used to spend my saturdays in hmv and thought it would be around forever x

  4. HMV are just a set of stores. The essence of music are the people that make it and the people that listen to it. Music itself will change as it has done since we started singing in the trees as monkeys. This essence wont. Just keep singing.

    Like the lines strung together by that famous chap called Robert: Your old road is rapidly aging, please get out of the new one
    if you can't lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin'"