The big three major labels are desperate to save the UK music retailer HMV and will offer discounted CDs to help the company revive itself. But is it already the beginning of the end for CDs?
Posted on Jan 21, 2013 03:13 pm
Struggling music retail chain HMV could be saved by the major labels to stop it going bust.
The UK chain of HMV stores announced last week that it was going out of business, because of difficulty competing with online stores like Amazon and iTunes.
Now the big three major labels - Universal, Warner Music and Sony - want to offer discounted CDs and DVDs to HMV so it can revive itself.
The majors worry that the loss of HMV would leave supermarkets as the only mainstream music retailers, selling music at "cut-throat prices" according to NME. This means reduced revenue for the music industry, which is why they're keen to keep HMV on the high street.
"Most towns - small, medium-sized towns - aren't going to have any kind of record shop anymore," Everything Everything bassist Jeremy Pritchard told NME. "You can go to Tesco and buy the Top 10, but that is it. So there's not really a physical presence for the physical format on the high street."
If the major's rescue package fails, parts of HMV may be sold to other businesses who have expressed an interest. Otherwise, over 4,000 jobs are at risk. Some staff staged a sit-in protest last week when they discovered they might not be paid.
Another industry concern is that indie record stores will have to shut down, because major and indie labels have less need to print physical products now that HMV, the UK high street's only national music retailer, could shut down. In turn, struggling indie stores will have less access to new products which puts their businesses at further risk.
This may prove that many in the music business want physical products to survive, but they're clearly at risk. What do you think the future of physical music products hold? Is it just a matter of time before digital takes over? Let us know what you think in the comments.