HMV confirmed the end of its three-year nose-dive into administration last night with the appointment of accountancy giant Deloitte. But its fate was sealed long ago by its slow response to the digital revolution, according to a leading digital expert.
The firm, which employs more than 4,000 people, ceased trading shares and issued a statement which said: “The board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection, and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the company and certain of its subsidiaries with immediate effect. The directors of the company understand that it is the intention of the administrators, once appointed, to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business.”
Gregory Mead, CEO of Musicmetric, the global music analysts, said:
“It’s a sad but inevitable fate for a much-loved stalwart of the music industry. But 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, meaning physical retailers have needed to evolve as well. While previously it was all about CD releases and the Sunday chart show, now 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 a myriad of sources.”