With alarming predictability, the usual suspects are lining up to blame the likes of Amazon and Play for the demise of HMV. It’s their fault, apparently, because they are “tax avoiders” and are, therefore, able to undercut high street stores such as HMV. This mantra is then taken up by the wider public and repeated over and over – just read some of the comments on online news articles and blogs, and some of the tweets flying around. Indeed, I saw a tweet this morning that even included Starbucks in the list of villains responsible for HMV’s demise.
The problem I have with this blame game is that it overlooks one very important point. HMV failed, quite simply, because not enough people bought stuff from it. They were priced out of the market by online competition and they failed to keep up (although they did have an online presence, in Guernsey I believe).
So HMV failed because people decided to buy from a cheaper supplier. Now, we can all jump up and down and say that the likes of Amazon and Play are only able to be cheaper because they are “tax avoiders”. OK, but the customers – that’s us, by the way – were the ones who actually bought online rather than in store at HMV.
So you see, it’s actually all our fault for wanting a cheaper product.