Goodbye His Masters Voice. It was nice knowing you, we have all spent endless hours browsing album upon album and box set upon box set. Adding up the amount of time I've browsed video games, movies, posters, two for £10 CD offers and frankly terrible band t shirts in my local HMV would make for depressing reading. Especially considering that it will not have the opportunity to get any higher. The internet inevitably dug its claws in over the past few years with not only illegal downloading prevalent but also the rise of Amazon and Play selling import albums as cheap as... well cheaper than HMV's £15. HMV attempted to diversify by gearing shops toward gadgets, speakers, headphones and other hardware necessary for your music intake but all these items are one time purchases. Once you've got a set of speakers they're going to last you a few years meaning there's no need to walk into HMV until the next solar eclipse. To add insult to injury most of these items are still priced lower by online retailers.
Twitter has filled over the past 24 hours asking: "where am I going to get my music now?" The answer is likely to be supermarkets or online. So here is an idea, independent record shops. Most of these businesses are struggling even more than HMV, so why not spend a little extra and contribute to a local record shop. If we are all so emotional about the collapse of HMV surely we should do something to save the only remaining music specialist. The whole experience of buying in an indie shop is entirely different to shopping in Asda for Olly Murs. Browsing can allow you to find hidden gems which you had entirely forgotten about or didn't even know existed. Many offer other services such as headphones so you can try out new music right there in the shop so there is no need to go home and Spotify what you've found.
Even though record shops are slowly crumbling away, vinyl sales are increasing year on year in the UK. Somehow buying a piece of vinyl feels like a treat again, much like we felt as a kid being allowed to run around HMV. Physical music sales have dropped more than a third in the last ten years alone but vinyl refuses and is climbing back up the cliff. Vinyl has now started to come with the download of the album attached to the product allowing you to take the tracks on the move as well. Instead of playing this into the pockets of supermarkets and internet giants the best could be made of a terrible situation in the form of the resurgence of independent record shops.
Record Store Day celebrated its fifth successful event in 2012 and is expected to follow suit with a similar day in April 2013. The campaign is designed to encourage the use of independent record shops through one off releases only available in participating stores. The misconception around record shops seems to be that they only sell vinyl, whilst really many have diversified into CD's, cassette tapes and other services such as food whilst you browse and even in store gigs. Record Store Day's participating stores is a good place to start if you don't know where to go to tackle the HMV blues. With a little bit of support the indie shop scene could benefit from the horrible situation that HMV have found themselves in. Even though your city may not have a record shop to make up for the lack of a HMV it'd be worth the trip for Record Store Day 2013.
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