You’ve in all probability seen it splashed throughout the information – HMV is celebrating its 100 12 months anniversary in 2021 and the truth that even after the retailer’s numerous trials and tribulations, its presence on the excessive road reveals there’s nonetheless life within the previous canine but.
Celebrating its a hundredth 12 months places it amongst different centurions corresponding to Chanel No.5, Braun Audio and The Laughing Cow cheese – sure, that’s additionally 100 hundred years previous, too.
And information of HMV’s birthday celebrations introduced with it plans to open up 10 shops, together with a brand new flagship retailer because the Oxford Circus venue has lain dormant since earlier than the pandemic struck resulting from HMV’s monetary points.
So whereas there appears to be a way of renewal across the HMV identify, its struggles transcend present circumstances and in the direction of the inexorable rise of digital vs bodily media – and I’m standing within the nook of bodily media and the shops we purchase them in.
Digital vs bodily media has been a subject of many discussions: the comfort of the previous in comparison with the standard of the latter. It’s a problem that’s been additional highlighted with the assorted lockdowns inflicting a surge in streaming, in addition to curiosity in buying extra bodily media (despite the fact that it’s nonetheless on a downward development).
My first DVD was a purchase one get one freed from The Matrix and Not One other Teen Film. The latter isn’t the most effective movie however was a blind purchase from Virgin Megastores (keep in mind them). Wanting round in a bodily retailer inspired exploration, one thing you don’t essentially really feel is the case with streaming, the place you’re served content material by way of algorithms and viewing historical past.
And whereas streaming providers like Disney+ and Prime Video have introduced entry to older content material, however for probably the most half the main target has been on new and authentic content material. Music has been higher served on this respect, however as we all know, artists haven’t been served the monetary remuneration from the likes of Spotify they deserve.
The historical past of movie and TV will not be as nicely represented – Netflix’s library hardly ever seems to be again past the 80s. The comfort of getting content material handy is sweet however not all the time as far reaching as we’d like.
Arguably the identical level may very well be made about bodily media. Titles that appeared on VHS didn’t all the time make their solution to DVD, then to Blu-ray and finally 4K. However bodily media has what streaming doesn’t, which is a type of possession.
We stream titles however don’t personal them, we obtain content material however are on the mercy of licenses. Transfer to a different nation and you possibly can lose entry to what you’ve paid for. Entry to bodily shops be sure that is much less of a problem.
High quality can also be an element to contemplate. You might argue a 4K Blu-ray in HDR10, affords higher high quality than a 4K Dolby imaginative and prescient stream. And what of the assorted streaming providers? Content material is unfold amongst a number of providers and the subscriptions finally add up. Movies and music depart providers often – some by no means make it on streaming platforms in any respect.
In order that’s why I’m wanting ahead to the presence of excessive road shops to find titles, and the persevering with existence of bodily media. Bodily media could take up house in properties, however it’s lasting and it’s ours quite ceding possession to media giants and their phrases. It’s large ranging and, at the moment, is a greater reflection of our cultural historical past. It’s one thing to carry on to quite than discard.
So let’s hope shops like HMV proceed to flourish, as a future that’s all digital solely doesn’t essentially maintain the positives we predict it does.