HMV Goes Into Administration
The recent news of HMV going into administration due to financial loses and poor business performance is a shock due to the sheer scale of the brand but also something that was probably inevitable. Due to the constantly increasing avenues that consumers are able to purchase music, DVDs and games it was only a matter of time.
Big chains like HMV hardly sell music in their stores now anyway, it was a gradual then sharp decrease that we all noticed but did not really think much of. We can easily get music delivered to our door or computer through iTunes, Amazon and from a number of other online sites. We even stream music on Spotify now instead of physically owning the music ourselves. The way we purchase music as consumers has changed drastically and perhaps HMV just did not move quickly enough with the rest of us.
Rise of the Independent Record Store
I go to a record store to browse and sift through the records in the hope of discovering something I had been keeping an eye out for or even discover something completely new. I hate the idea of browsing online through page after page of album cover art and prices. I do however, shop online to buy something specific. But even then I am likely to find it at a cheaper price in an independent store.
The independent record store always has that personal feel that you just don’t get online or in big retail chains. Ben Darnton, owner of independent record store, Ben’s Collectors Records in Guildford agrees, “This is where an independent shop like mine can really beat poor HMV or even other second hand record shops where the proprietor is frantically putting the best stock on line to squeeze a bit more money, rather than socialising with customers, which is what I prefer.”
Is Vinyl Making a Comeback?
Darnton thinks it is, “I’m noticing a marked increase in the popularity of vinyl records. More youngsters are discovering the delights of vinyl as their parents dig out their records and record players from the loft and share the soundtrack from their youth with their offspring!”
Independent stores like his do not sell music online, which subtly tempts you to go to the store and have a browse. Ben buys records and CDs all the time so the stock is always changing and you can get incredible bargains. Recently I picked up Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ album on vinyl for £2, which on Amazon is going for anything between £14 and £30!
HMV Refuse Vouchers, Independents Step Up
When the news was released that HMV would not be accepting gift vouchers as payment at their stores it was the independent record stores like Banquet Records in Kingston who were there to pick up the pieces for the consumers.
Jon Tolley from Banquet commented, “Whatever happened, it’s certainly no fault of the person who got someone a Christmas gift, and it’s unfair on someone to not be able to use their credit. We wanted to find a way to make these gift tokens valid at our store.”
Banquet were running a 50% off offer up to and including Sunday 20th January. Luckily for those who missed out on this offer, HMV have announced that they will be accepting gift vouchers from Tuesday 22nd January. So if you have not already rushed out to an independent store to use your voucher then you are in luck!
Nick Edwards, Joint Administrator, said: “Since our appointment as Joint Administrators on Tuesday afternoon, we have been urgently assessing the Companies’ financial position. I am pleased to confirm that, having concluded this assessment, we are able to honour gift cards.”
So all in all it worked out OK for the consumers and the independent record stores but not so much for HMV. Maybe it is time to add that personal touch back into retail, it seems to be working for the independents.
Are you an independent record store fan? Let us know which ones you love in the comments below!