Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Musical musings (2) : HMV

The collapse of HMV into administration unfortunately is not unexpected. The music and media retailer has been struggling for some time. The internet (and especially Amazon of course) will be blamed for their demise but i think its a lot more complicated than that. Supermarkets are never mentioned in the High Street's woes but they have expanded away from groceries over the last decade. All big supermarkets now sell CDs and DVDs as well as electrical goods. The Tesco near where i work sells TVs, cameras, Kindles and accessories. Each pound spent in a supermarket on a CD or a camera is a pound not spent in HMV or Jessops.

The internet is a big factor of course but HMV's mismanagement did not help. The stores should have moved away from trying to compete on the mass market years ago. They should have capitalised on the key place a store like HMV has in youth culture : a meeting place. When i was young places like HMV were frequently a place you met your friends outside (and usually went inside). HMV should have improved the in-store experience to make their stores a youth destination.

How about a cafe, sell comics, have some micro-units for funky local fashion designers, accessories? They also should have reduced their stock of chart music and improved their selection of more youth orientated genres like indie and urban. They also should have gone into downloads early. They could have had a key advantage in digital music. Imagine being able to go to a store and listen to a huge library of tracks and then pay and download the ones you liked to your mp3 player in-store?

Well its probably too late now. These things should have been done over 5 years ago. The company has been run down by mismanagement at the top. The previous CEO was at Comet and the current one was at Jessops before now. Makes you think doesn't it?

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