Tuesday, December 4, 2007

HMV Says If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em!

I reported yesterday on our news Website, that "music" retailer HMV has decided to carry iPods and related accessories in many of its stores across Canada. I say (or rather, type) "music" in quotations because, although historically known as a store that sells CDs, DVDs, and the odd audio accessory, like CD cases and cheap-y headphones, the company has managed to evolve alongside the changing face of the music industry. And this is a good thing.

Rather than cry the blues that digital is taking over, or sit tight hoping that this digital music craze will eventually blow over, HMV has simply adjusted its business plan to fit in line with new consumer wants. CD sales are down? HMV added other entertainment products to offset the loss in sales, including video game consoles and game titles. And now, rather than admitting defeat in the music category compliments of the mighty iPod and its partner-in-crime iTunes, the retailer has jumped on board. They're sending out a loud and powerful message: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Good on HMV.

Advancements in technology do not have to translate to a battle between the old and new. People will record music onto the hard drives of their portable devices...just like many of us used to record radio or TV onto blank cassette and VHS tapes (come on, admit it. You know you did!) People will download music from the 'net instead of purchasing a physical CD. Instead of trying to tell customers what they want, why not listen to what they're telling you they want? This seems to be a large part of HMV's focus, and I've gained a new-found respect for the retailer because of it. It explains why HMV has survived in a game where many have fallen flat.

As for the adjusted strategy, it's also possible that, as each HMV customer pops in to buy the new iPod touch, he might just be enticed to pick up a few impulse CD buys...hey, you never know.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see that HMV has joined the revolution. You are right, instead of crying and blaming digital for the music industry problems, they've managed to go after other forms of entertainment and will probably survive for many years to come. It was sad to see all the Canadian music chains close one by one because they were not willing to change their business models. A&A music, gone Sam the record man, gone Discus, gone and now Music World, gone. With these changes, HMV will still be around when my kids are old enough to shop for their own music and will still get to browse in store. Long live HMV the entertainment specialist formerly known only as the music specialists.

J said...

HMV has always been pretty good at anticipating the next wave of entertainment media. I remember the strange looks customers would get when they first saw CD-R's sold right next to CD's,("is this for real?!") but they'd end up buying both, so it worked.
The company understands that incorporating new things or delivering product in alternative ways will keep loyal customers and hence continue to have a pulse.