We are all dishonest thieves. Countless studies have shown that, if we think we can get away with it, we'll lie, cheat and steal.
There's always an excuse too; I'll just download it to listen to, if I like it I'll go out and buy it. Record companies make loads of money, they won't miss it. I just need a copy of Basic Instinct on Blu-ray for research purposes.
So what killed HMV? Was it the recession, the dwindling high street? Was it you with your selfish illegal downloads? (How could you?!)
Probably all of those. To be honest I don't really care that much. It wasn't so long ago that HMV were the evil empire. Declaring war on Ourprice and Virgin Megastores during the 70's and stealing business away from independent record shops. Undercutting them on price and destroying a community of music lovers who would meet, share opinions and talk about the smell of vinyl. Ah the smell of vinyl, go on smell it, it's nostalgic!
Being 32 I am slightly too young to appreciate vinyl properly and its array of seemingly magical properties. When I was a teenager I loved HMV, I would go every weekend to buy music or tapes, as it was then known. So why aren't I all misty eyed and syrupy about HMV's demise?
I spent my youth growing up believing that everything was happening for the first time (just like everyone did and still does). Believing the music and movies of my generation were the best ever and the start of some kind of cultural revolution with me riding the crest of a beautiful wave straddling the zeitgeist stallion as it crashed through the walls of the established mainstream signalling the birth of something new and powerful (I was a teenager remember).
I then spent a large portion of my adulthood having the veil removed from my eyes and realising I'd been played for a fool.
Tapes were shit, CDs were not much better, for a start they didn't smell of anything, not like vinyl, ooh magical. The people who predominantly buy music (15 year old girls; always has been always will be) don't harbour a desire for a physical product anymore. They are fickle, their music is disposable, and therefore so is HMV. We've all known it for years, music retailers have been haemorrhaging money, diversifying their range (Woolworths anyone?) the killed Borders and Dillon's for Pete's sake. Crying about it now is like getting upset when the puppy you've been kicking suddenly stops moving.
The digital age is happening. It's the end of tactile consumerism; Books will go (stop crying), music, movies, newspapers, magazines, flyers, comic books etc. anything that can be consumed via a screen will be digitised. It saves on production costs, which companies love, it'll be (slightly) cheaper for consumers (for now) and artists will continue to be royally screwed over. The overall standard of mainstream 'art' will diminish and we will be left with nothing except a huge artistic void.
Personally, I hope (or at least my idealistic teenage self hopes) that void can be filled with a proper underground movement. One that doesn't exist online where people exchange ideas and ideologies and music is produced using real instruments and published in a physical format. Probably on vinyl, that stuff smells like winner!
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