So guitar music is ‘back’ and HMV is ‘gone’ eh?



Strange times we live in……BUT……no stranger than anywhen else in history.


Yes it’s sad HMV seems to be on the verge of disappearing from our high street but have you been in there in the last few years? Unless you want Beats headphones or an overpriced iPod dock it’s slim pickings. I can’t remember the last time I bought anything in there as they generally haven’t stocked for a while:


a) much in the way of vinyl 

b) CD’s that I might want for under about £15 and…

c) DVD’s that aren’t The Hangover


Hopefully, the few remaining FOPP’s will stay open/be snapped up by someone else and the staff who do know their onions (quite rare in my experience at my local HMV if I’m honest…) go on to work at the independent record shops that might hopefully spring up and take hold of a market that I definitely believe is still there. One can dream eh?


So, say a few words in prayer if you want, but don’t mourn long….get yourself down to somewhere like Pie & Vinyl in Southsea and buy your music from knowledgable staff who love what they do. You can spend as much time as you want having a browse (something that I do miss about the HMV of old….)


Right. Next up. Rock music is back is it?


Where has it been then? I’ve read a few reports and listened to some radio articles that generally go along the lines of ‘Mumford and Sons blah blah blah….Keane blah blah…..’ even Scouting for Girls were mentioned. Yes you read that right.


Now, I don’t care whether you have guitars, samplers, banjo’s, theremins, violins, tubas or you’re an Aboriginal acapella throat-singing quartet. Good music is good music. I have nothing against any of those bands mentioned above but something that unites them all is the fact that they are in no way ‘rock’. Whatever that means.


I understand that these things go in cycles and every 5 or 6 years the industry needs to ‘stay fresh’ (hmmmm…) and change it’s focus to sell more product. I also understand that, as pop and R&B has been dominant in the charts for a while that guitar bands in the background have perhaps been free to make music that might be less commercial and a wee bit more experimental but……and here’s the twist…THIS IS ALWAYS HAPPENING. ALL THE TIME. CONSTANTLY. 


Go and watch bands in the town you live in. I guarantee you’ll still see plenty of Strats, Les Pauls and Teles. You will also see a few laptops, synthesisers and samplers. Many of them will be making good music regardless of whether it’s trendy or flavour of the month. Lot’s of them will have been doing so for some time. Of course there will be a load of chaff to weed through but that, my friends, has always been the case and will never change. 


So. To surmise. The moral of this Aesop’s fable is…..


1) If you like music, keep buying it however you choose to consume it. Preferably from somewhere that will benefit from your hard-earned dosh. 

2) Keep going to see the artists you like regardless of whether you’ve been told to or not. Preferably from a venue that has great bookers and cares about who it puts on.

3) If you can’t find any music you want to buy or bands you want to see then pick up a guitar or a laptop and start making it yourself. 


Good luck.




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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think HMV, and the other big music store chains that fell before them, have shot themselves in the foot by trying to compete with online retailers like Amazon. Put simply, if I just want to buy an album I’ll go to Amazon because that’s the cheapest place I can get it.
    What high street shops have got over Amazon, and what HMV should’ve tried to play up, is the buying experience. What I can’t get at Amazon is that browsing experience, the chance to chat to staff who might have recommendations, the chance to sit in a listening booth and have a coffee while checking out a possible purchase.
    That’s why I hope, rather ironically, that smaller independent record stores, like the awesome Pie and Vinyl, have a better chance of surviving because they offer something that a faceless mass retailer doesn’t.
    As for rock being ‘back’… as you say when did it go away!? I don’t pay attention to trends and charts anyway, there is always plenty of good music out there to discover regardless of what is fashionable 🙂

    • I agree Rich. Funnily enough though, HMV’s online store was actually very competitive (before they changed the law to prevent Guernsey staying as a tax haven as that’s where their warehouse was based…).

      I think the last thing I did actually buy from HMV was Wild Beasts ‘Smother’ online as they had ltd edition signed CD’s as an exclusive. I just think they lost direction and tried to be all things to all people which, in my experience, never really works out. They spread out into live music, t-shirts, technology, books etc…and spread too thin.

      In general I think all shops need to offer something you can’t get online. People. Interaction with knowledgable, friendly staff who can assist and recommend. Not a conveyor belt of students who are just there to stack shelves and get paid (and I know, I’ve been there…)

      Still….as Take That said…’everything changes’. Let’s hope the independents can rise again!

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