The day the music died...

The day the music died...

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Tuesday, January 15 2013

We are all guilty.

All of us who bought a CD or DVD from Amazon or the supermarket.

We have killed HMV, just as we killed Comet and Jessops.

There’s no point blaming Amazon or the others. It was up to us to choose where to spend our money, and we chose to spend it online. It became ever easier to do so, and, of course, cheaper.

We all looked for the cheapest deal, and that meant Amazon or Tesco.

HMV’s 92-year history, its emotional and nostalgic attachment to millions, its brilliance for browsing and serendipity, counted for nothing when price was all.

And of course it faced the new era of digital downloads, many totally free. Fewer people wanted to buy a whole physical album when they only wanted one or two standout tracks.

HMV’s sad collapse into administration has provoked an outpouring of emotion hardly ever matched by a retailer.

I don’t recall the same sympathy for Comet, Jessops, Zavvi, Woolworths and the lengthening  roll call of high street dodos.

So many remember queueing in HMV for the latest album, the excitement of hearing the Beatles or Stones for the first time.

Those queues returned before Christmas - but the festive rush was not enough to save HMV. All its industry support - desperate to retain a high street shop window for its product - was not enough to delay the inevitable.

I feel so sorry for the thousands of people, mainly young, who will lose their job. If 4,000 go at HMV, added to the 2,500 at Jessops and 6,000 at Comet, that some 12,000 gone at a stroke.

Where will those young people find work in an already difficult jobs market for the young? And for the next generation, there will be even fewer jobs around - except possibly in an Amazon warehouse. But that's hardly the same experience for those with product knowledge and who love feeling, hearing and seeing their music and films.

Millions of people who have not spent money in HMV for years - as well as the shrinking number who kept faith with Nipper - His Master's Voice - will be desperately hoping for white knight to buy the chain. But it is unlikely. A few stores may remain. We need a high street presence for a CD and DVD retailer.

But January 15 looks very much like the bleak day the music died.

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Categories: Business

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