It’s finally happened, after all those years of cynicism, HMV has finally gone into administration. The same tired old questions surrounding the future of music have yet again resurfaced. Will the music industry survive? Will record labels collapse? Does anyone buy music anymore? Are my HMV gift cards valid? Etcetera, etcetera.
HMV’s demise will not truly answer these questions (though at the moment HMV are not accepting any gift cards) what is important are the facts: HMV, previously the largest retailer of CDs on the high street, are going into administration. It’s also worth noting that the CEO of HMV is (or was) Trevor Moore, who presided over the demise of Jessop’s, which finally collapsed the other week.
As things stand, HMV is currently under the helm of a group of experienced administrators from Deloitte, including Neville Kahn among others. Kahn may not be a household name but the companies he’s previously ran might: Woolworths, Comet, Wedgewood, and Waterford among others. Notice a pattern emerging? He once stated in an interview that he probably has the record for the number of people he’s made redundant. It’s no wonder that in various stores over Ireland this week, HMV employees organised a sit in against uncertainties about the company’s future and guarantees of pay.
The collapse of His Master’s Voice (HMV) is one news story that’s long been predicted, probably since the decline in music sales year on year. HMV tried to counter act this, with the increase of merchandise sales. But while this initially sounded like a good idea, the reality meant peddling Twilight posters and Angry Birds soft toys, I don’t know if anyone bought these and I’d rather not do any research on the matter. For me the end result was a loss of the affection I’d built up of the store. My memory of HMV will also be as the place I first seriously started collecting albums, taking advantage of the 2 for £10 ‘sale‘ which has ran almost perpetually into my adult life.
Surprisingly, album sales are not actually fairing as badly as this news may suggest with 43.6 million being sold last year. And HMV’s investment in venues such as Manchester’s Ritz and the HMV Forum in London was thought to patch up the losses made by the company for its failure to invest in digital sales, but evidently not.
It has now been annouced in the last day that Hilco have bought HMV's debts and are set to take full control of the store.