HMV has today announced it is to appoint an administrator.
I jokingly tweeted earlier that:
The only good thing about #HMV was that those little round pink price stickers always used to come off in one piece leaving no residue.
— Ade Rowbotham (@_ade) January 15, 2013
While it's true that those stickers were pretty satisfying to peel off (or is that just me?), it's a bit unfair to claim that they were the retailer's only redeeming feature.
The staff, bless them, were more often than not proper music-heads who knew their stuff. And (back in the late 90s at least) HMV stores tended to have a surprisingly decent selection of 12" techno and electronica singles from international independent labels (this being the focus of my musical interest).
But I've not bought music from HMV for a long time, for all the obvious reasons. They've always been overpriced. This 2004 post from Clive Murray sums it up pretty well. And that was before the days of SoundCloud and Spotify.
Yes, it’s unfair that Amazon have been able to sidestep paying UK corporation tax whilst simultaneously hobbling the high street. This is a massive factor. But the writing has been on the wall for HMV ever since the launch of Napster. And their token efforts to "go digital" in recent years have been too little too late.
I feel sorry for all those great employees, but have no sympathy for the company itself.