One expert says HMV’s slow digital response was its undoing, while shoppers blame high prices compared to other music and retail outlets.
HMV confirmed the end of its three-year nose-dive into administration yesterday with the appointment of accountancy giant Deloitte.
According to a leading digital expert, its fate was sealed long ago by its slow response to the digital revolution.
“It’s a sad but inevitable fate for a much-loved stalwart of the music industry. But where retailers like John Lewis have embraced the internet – building customers through its Click and Collect service – HMV simply failed to adapt to the changing tastes of music fans and the seismic shift we’ve seen as everything has gone digital.
“While figures from the 2012 Digital Music Index showed file-sharing to be rife right across the UK, the upshot of this is that there are millions of fans accessing music each day. The challenge for retailers like HMV has been to find ways to tap into this – but you’d be hard pressed to be able to walk into an HMV store and buy songs directly on to your iPod.
“The changing face of music, and that digital technology has overhauled the way we interact with records, means that artists can engage directly with fans, meaning physical retailers have needed to evolve as well. While previously it was all about CD releases and the Sunday chart show, now the most important thing is knowing where your fanbase is and what drives them so you can market to them directly and maximise revenues from a myriad of sources.” Said Gregory Mead, CEO of Musicmetric, the global music analysts.
Musicmetric tracks online trends in music and makes this data available to those working in the music industry. The data covers activity on social media, mentions and sentiment on news and blogs, sales and file sharing activity on the BitTorrent network.
HMV, which employs more than 4,000 people, ceased trading shares and issued a statement which said: ‘The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection, and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company and certain of its subsidiaries with immediate effect. The directors of the company understand that it is the intention of the administrators, once appointed, to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business.’
Customers have been keen to take to social sites to give their reasons to why HMV has failed. Most noting high prices, including an increase every time a ‘near’ rival such as Zavvi has closed down.
“I see that one dvd I wanted last week,which was £15, is now £17 but with 25% off it’s now only £12.75, bit sneaky isn’t it?”
“That’s Entertainment is a city centre store and is far cheaper than HMV”
“Dark, dusty and out-of-date image, that’s HMV”
“Changing the logo from HMV to hmv didn’t work did it?”
“Anyone remember Our Price? Or the hundreds of little music shops HMV put out of business?”
“They had a bit of a attitude problem in later years, if you were not young and ‘with it’ the staff treated you with contempt.”
“Thinking none of us remember the prices from a few weeks ago, so we know when we’re being ‘ripped-off’ with a crap ‘sale'”.
Memories of HMV on Twitter included,
“walking in to see what DVDs are worth downloading”
“looking around and never buying anything”
“My favourite memory of HMV was when I went there and saw how expensive CDs were and I left.”
“The #HMVmemories hashtag is really showing how dreadful it was as a retailer.”
“Watching them put their prices up for a few weeks before dropping them back to the original price in a ‘sale’. Fools no one.”
Comedians have also taken to tweet their view with Omid Djalili noting “Don’t know what the little dog from HMV was listening to on that gramophone, obviously not financial advice.”
And Al Murray suggests, “The day we can download cornflakes Tesco’s is done for
Controversial comedian Frankie Boyle has been criticised for making a joke about HMV which concerns AIDS.
A number of ‘interested parties’ are said to be discussing the potential purchase of HMV.
[Reporter Don Westbury]