Monday, January 21, 2013

So Much For Europe's Record Stores

Going Out of Business image
Maybe this is just Europe catching up to the US, or maybe it's the beginning of the final gasp of the last era of music business, but all over the continent the last of the record store chains are closing.

The famous HMV retail chain in England recently went into bankruptcy, with the fate of all of its 200 stores now in doubt. Workers there recently went on strike demanding unpaid wages from the chain.

In France, the same happened at the 26 Virgin Megastores, and the FNAC chain in Italy was recently sold to private equity investors who are expected to shut stores and cut jobs.

To say the least, things do not look good on the CD/DVD retail front.

Soon the store closings become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people who genuinely want to buy a CD can't because there's not a retail store open near them. This is certainly the case in the US, where their are major cities without a single CD retail outlet.

That being said, CDs are still a big business, as people do buy them online and at concerts and gigs. In fact, there were 326 million CDs sold in 2011 (it's too early for the 2012 tallies yet) that we know of. I say that because a lot of CDs are sold privately at gigs or online that Soundscan never sees, so aren't included in the totals.

Still, you can see the writing on the wall. Anyone who has experienced the convenience of digital music just doesn't want to go back. And with hi-res digital music coming more and more available, the increase in quality will leave CD lovers in the dust.

Of course the business model of selling CDs is the thing that record labels, artists and publishers alike grieve over, but let's face it, that ship has already sailed.


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1 comment:

jef knight said...

and, oddly, the used vinyl store here is doing a fine business...



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