It’s never good to see companies going belly up and people losing their jobs, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. The problems stemmed from Zavvi’s distributor being part of the failed Woolworths group, but I think the days of the soul-less music and DVD supermarket were pretty much numbered anyway. I wouldn’t give HMV too long, although they might benefit for a while from the elimination of a competitor.
Of course, what will follow is a load of ill-informed garbage about the death of the CD, or more accurately, the physical form of recorded music carriage. Logically, the arguments are sound, but then logically, vinyl should belong to the Victoria & Albert Museum by now, and not be a growing sector of the market.
Humans are acquisitive creatures, by and large. For many people, the joy of owning an artefact – be it a book, a record or a painting – is as great as the actual corporeal experience. Music isn’t a thing. A novel isn’t a thing. But there is a joy in a well-stocked library, or in groaning shelves of vinyl that is about more than just the words or music.
Funnily enough, I was talking to one of the guys who works in Monorail (Glasgow’s incomparable leftfield record shop – a kind of mini Rough Trade, but cheaper) last night, and he was saying that they’ve been defying the recession / depression, with continuing healthy sales. But then, a trip to a shop like that is akin to being a member of a secret club. You rarely leave with just what you came for, and who knows what intriguing new stuff you’ll get to hear / be recommended / buy on a whim.
On the other end of the spectrum, Fopp began a mega-sale today. I couldn’t even get through the door of their Byres Road branch, so they must be doing something right! Fopp’s selling point is discounted catalogue. If you’re not careful, you end up buying things you never even knew you wanted before you went in. It’s a model that’s served them well over the years. Only ill-thought out over-expansion brought the chain to its knees last year. A case of buying what they couldn’t afford. Ironically, I would say the greatest danger to Fopp’s survival is now their saviour and parent company HMV. It’s a weird twist of fate.