HMV fate ‘sealed many years ago’

HMV’s fate was sealed long ago by its slow response to the digital revolution, according to one leading digital expert, who claims its demise is “sad but inevitable”.
The firm, which employs more than 4,000 people, has ceased trading shares and said it was “unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection”. Its stores will remain open as it seeks a buyer, but it has confirmed will no longer accept vouchers – a major blow to anyone who received a gift-card for Christmas, but has yet to spend it.
The writing has been on the wall for months and as far back as last February, analysts were predicting it would be lucky to survive the year.
Its failure to adapt to the digital market has been well documented, as its core business of CDs, DVDs and books are now much more widely available in digital format, while the likes of Tesco and Asda sell charts CDs for as little as £5. The HMV website has also come in for criticism, amid claims it is too clunky and way behind the likes of Amazon.
Meanwhile its revamped loyalty scheme, MyHMV, has failed to attract enough customers to make a significant impact on the business. Some claim the overhaul was simply too little, too late.
Gregory Mead, chief executive of global music analysts Musicmetric, claimed it was a “sad but inevitable fate”.
He added: “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. 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 myriad sources.”

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