UK Politics

We're to Blame for HMV, Not the Government

16 Jan 2013 at 09:41

A lot has been written about the demise of HMV and yes, it is indeed very sad whenever a well known name like HMV goes into administration. But people need to remember that administration does not necessarily mean bankruptcy. Nipper hasn’t barked his last bark quite yet. It will, however, be very difficult to find a buyer for the business, especially one which would keep the majority of the stores open. It’s one of those occasions where so-called ‘progress’ has led to this situation. I used to spend hundreds of pounds in HMV every year. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I went into an HMV shop. It’s yet another example of Amazon eating up the High Street. As a publisher, I now fear for the future of Waterstone’s (and yes, I’ll keep the comma). It’s undergone a major transformation in its business in the last eighteen months and you have to hope that this will see it through.

It has to be said that Chuka Umunna didn’t have the best of days yesterday. He toured the broadcast studios trying to blame the government for HMV’s woes. The government can indeed be blamed for many things, but HMV’s demise is not one of them. He got skewered by Andrew Neil who asked him when was the last time he had been to HMV. “Christmas,” replied Chuka. “What did you buy?” asked Andrew. “Er, nothing,” said Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary. Quite. Times move on. Just as Vinyl LP manufacturers had to adapt to the CD, the music retail business has to adapt to the internet. It was always going to be difficult for HMV and in a way it’s a surprise it lasted this long. And that’s the challenge for book retailers. We’ve seen the demise of Books etc, Borders and all the other book chains.Only Waterstone’s remains. And long may it remain so. But I wonder how many people will really follow Tim Shipman’s example…