If HMV dies, it won't kill the CD - Bella Union boss

Tim Ingham
If HMV dies, it won't kill the CD - Bella Union boss

The collapse of HMV into administration has set alarm bells ringing across the industry - but the music trade hasn't given up on the retailer.

Below, the founder of much-loved British indie label Bella Union, Simon Raymonde - whose roster includes Fleet Foxes, Midlake and John Grant - reflects on the events of Monday evening, which saw the 92-year-old HMV effectively taken over by administrator Deloitte, owing £176m to its banks.

Pick up tomorrow's edition of Music Week magazine for reaction to HMV's downfall from across the UK music industry.

Monday was a strange day of contrasting emotions for sure. Firstly I heard that Bloom, the recent Beach House album was the 7th best selling vinyl album of 2012 in the UK... and then minutes later the news re HMV came in.
Rumours have been rife for a while and the pub-talk was 'they'll be gone by Xmas', which now looks like it may have been fairly bang-on. I am very sad for all the folks who may lose jobs in the coming days should this be confirmed, and this is not a good situation for any of us. But was it inevitable? 
It doesn't matter now, but I do feel that if enough people have that much negative energy around a brand like HMV that phrases like 'the writing has been on the wall for some time' accompany every mention, then it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I wasn't expecting it, no, but then I am a person who survives by having no expectations about anything so it is neither a surprise nor wholly expected.
This clearly is a barometer of the lack of confidence in high street music retail, but if we just stop and look outside the window for a second, we should note that  200+ Comet stores went into administration a couple of months ago as sales of the kind of items they stock moved increasingly online, 150+ Jessops shops went into administration this week for similar reasons, and 300+ GAME shops went down last year. There is a pattern. And HMV looks like another fatality, again in great part due to the competition from supermarkets and online retailers like Amazon.  
Where do we go from here? Well, the music industry is pretty adept at picking itself up, dusting itself down and then getting on with it again. Is it the death knell of physical distribution? No, not at all, but it will no doubt change things.
There are many great success stories within the independent record retail system and while the common view is that we are living in a Spotified world, I would say that I see many people turning their backs on mp3s and streaming, and returning to vinyl and curiously and fascinatingly, even cassettes!
And while my Philips Dual Deck Cassette Player is still in daily use, even i couldn't have predicted that one...


Tags: Bella Union, HMV

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