Culture Clash – Goodbye to HMV


CD collecting should remain with us…

My Saturdays were once spent travelling into town to buy albums. Sometimes they were new and sometimes they were old. Whatever musical gift I decided to treat myself with, CD shopping is something that always manages to take me out of myself and allows me to constantly open my eyes to new angles of music and build up a CD collection that displays my life as a music enthusiast. So as you can imagine when I heard that HMV was going into administration I was deeply saddened about the unfortunate direction that music is now taking.

Downloads are ultimately what has brought shops like HMV to breaking point.  Their convenience and immediacy are very appealing but despite how I have seen the advantages of downloads and have an iPod, they could never replace my CDs, no matter how glossy they get. One day in the future I’d like to display my CD collection in my house and be able to show it to my children so they can see what music was out in our day and the tangible, original disks that that music was sold to us on. This experience is going to be much more enriching than flicking through icons on a computer screen that happen to play songs. Just like a library, a big CD collection is fascinating and reflects the weight of creativity that has gone into so many years of music and it’s such a shame that it may soon cease to exist.

Internet shopping is the other factor that has brought down CD stores and to me this doesn’t make sense. If you take immediacy for example, to me it’s much quicker to go to a CD store down the road and buy an album than to wait nearly 5 days for a CD from the internet to arrive. Additionally, we often think that downloads are accessible and convenient, but this is only really the case for our younger generation as downloading music and ripping CDS may be confusing for older people who haven’t grown up with it and should be able to access music in the simple manner of sticking a CD in a player and pressing play. In terms of reliability as well, I have often witnessed mp3 players not effectively working in cars and don’t get me started on how easy it is to break them. CDs are no less reliable, immediate and accessible than downloads, you just have to pause your techno brain for a second and step into some new shoes.

Of course, I’m fighting a losing battle as music in physical form it seems is inevitably on its way out. But I think you can level with me here and agree that this is a dreadful shame and wrong whichever way you look at it. Feel free to keep moving with the times, but please don’t forget this huge part in the development of music and help me keep CD collecting alive.

Steff Brawn

The world is moving on and music should move with it….

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of Netflix, LoveFilm, iTunes and many more services like them. We live in a convenience culture, a world where intelligent people strive every day to think of how to make a process swifter, a transaction smoother, a commodity cheaper and – despite popular belief – it’s not a negative way to live.

Even with sites streaming legally, there has been and will be a plethora of illegal downloading systems. There will still be millions of people who download illegally. Some of us have enough of a guilt complex to know that if everyone downloaded illegally, there wouldn’t be an industry anymore. It’s nice to know that there are legal ways to access high-quality films, TV shows and songs at a low price. In the process, however, the rise of the internet has meant the demise of high street stores.

Not having the physical disc in your hands is nothing to complain about. Firstly, although shops such as HMV are under threat, this does not mean it is impossible to buy and own a physical copy of that new album you want. You can have it posted straight through your letter box in 3-5 working days and it’s not like buying clothes to check whether or not they fit. There’s much more opportunity to listen to and try out a song online than in stores.

Secondly, it might even be easier to download the music and create your custom version of the album. A case of blank CDs is far cheaper than buying the same amount of albums, and offers the chance to get creative. To implore the argument that it’s somehow lacking soul to create your own CDs or to not listen to the whole concept that an artist has come up with seems ridiculous to me. Everyone has a favourite album and a song or two upon that album that they always skip.

It’s obvious that people are still buying a huge amount of physical artefacts, but just because you don’t have the physical case with its album art does not make it unobtainable. It just might save a few trees. You could say that there are still people who feel they need the physical object, mostly those of the older generation, but we are living in a society where it is becoming impossible to avoid computers and the internet. You’d do much better to teach your parents or grandparents how to download music than lecture them, or anyone else, on the joy of trailing through the shelves for a magical find.

Think of the last time you actually used a CD. So your car has an old radio system, like mine. Or, alternatively, I know people who have simply replaced the radios in their old cars so that they can play music from their phones or mp3 players. CDs are no longer necessary in our day-to-day life, and if stores such as HMV do not change with the times, they will inevitably fall behind.

Beth Palfery – Smith


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