From a despairing unadulterated audio experience seeker to you.
Established in 1921 on the iconic Oxford Street, HMV is a music retail chain with worldwide appeal and fame. The chain operates as far as Hong Kong and Singapore, owns a number of music venues, and has begun to mount a challenge to Apple's dominant online presence. It's popular, but is HMV killing music?
Ewen Duncan, the friendly and knowledgeable owner of Europa Music, an independent music retailer in Stirling, Scotland had this to say:
Well, supermarkets and HMV, who are to blame for an awful lot of things, they are now so streamlined, [with regards to] their product lines that how many artists now have the chance to be heard in those shops? None. Whereas the independent shops have people who have got knowledge and are open to new music coming into our shops and being able to play to people and also to, you know, spread the word.
Walking into Europa Music, I got the impression of a place infused with a passion for music. I didn't find the Metal genre to include both Iron Maiden and Blink 182 albums; the merchandise has an authentic, retro feel, and the vinyl, held at the back of the shop, is vast and abundant. It's apparent that independent retailers have struggled over the years, with more than a fair share closing down. But can all of the closures be attributed to the HMV Group's market dominance? Whilst the chain might be expected to bear a sizeable chunk of blame, it's not apparent that it's a truism. For instance, the Independent recently reported a calamitous slump in sales, a fact that serves as an ample reminder to HMV about the volatility of the music industry and economy as a whole.
HMV is often accused of lacking personality by hardcore record collectors. The chain's adjustment to growing market pressures, such as the popularity of digital media in the shape of iTunes means that it can no longer accommodate to record collectors in the way it used to. So the final thought here is that perhaps HMV is actually a contributing factor the continued existence of the independent music retailer. The chain's recent diversification, which includes a fashion line, is perhaps the best example of why independent record stores such as Europa Music continue to exist in an increasingly commercial industry. HMV does supply a lot of the UK's music needs, but there are just some desires it won't cater for. One just feels that retailers such as Europa Music really are the fabric of the music industry.
What are your opinions on the debate between chains such as HMV and independents such as Europa Music? Do you have a favourite music retailer? Best comments to feature next time.
My favourite comments from my last blog include:
dweb23 : this article robbed me of 2 minutes ill never get back
RDSElite: WTF, worst article I ever read here, just plain awful.
Axe_Burner: This article really isn't even much of an article. It reads like something someone would post in the comments section of an article. Come on UG, give us some real articles here!
Mike_Atherton: I don't say this often but the writer of this article sounds like a complete T***!
...and finally one of my two positive bits of feedback:
khakiapple: if this was an original article by someone writing for UG and not just some editorial scraped from another site...
I WANT MORE OF IT!!! UG needs more stuff like this, not random news posts that I always skip past.
Hats off to the author.
Thanks for your comments, positive or negative!
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of this author or Ultimate-Guitar.com.
By Sam Agini