Last week HMV became the victim of the ruthless jaws of a struggling high street and collapsed into administration for the second time in six years.
A cruel sense of de ja vu two years before it is due to celebrate its 100th birthday, the news has (again) reignited the debate over whether this signals the ‘death’ of physical media as streaming services, YouTube and tech giants like Amazon take a growing share of the listening pie.
HMV is the first to admit it “cannot withstand the tsunami of challenges facing UK retailers over the last 12 months” and that festive trading had been “extremely weak”.
Indeed, while HMV still accounts for almost a third of all physical music sales in the UK and nearly a quarter of DVD sales, sales of DVDs across the market are down 30% year on year.
“While HMV performed considerably better than that, such a deterioration in a key sector of the market is unsustainable,” boss Paul McGowan said.
And while there has been a resurgence in vinyl in line with the growing trend for nostalgia, there is no doubt that more and more people aren’t paying for music – a pressure that is impossible to offset when business rates are increasing and consumer confidence declining.
HMV’s fate is clinging on to a very fine thread that – if a potential buyer doesn’t throw it a lifebuoy – will see it join the likes of Coast, Poundworld and Toys R Us which all disappeared from the high street in 2018.
So what equity – if any – could be inherited from HMV and what might the business look like post-purchase?
While the first move of any buyer will almost definitely involve reducing its 125-strong store estate to immediately alleviate some of the financial strain, HMV’s challenges go beyond that.
Over the last year, HMV’s overall YouGov BrandIndex score has fallen from 14.6 to 13.2. Within that, its buzz (below) has dropped significantly from 1.6 in January 2018 to -0.2, seeing it…