Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rant: Oooohhh, HMV....

As noted before, HMV Canada is in a bit of a pickle: they need to find some way to make themselves relevant to modern customers who are increasingly taking advantage of digital media before they're pronounced dead through attrition.

The good news is that they have a plan.

The bad news is that the plan seems to be to go running headlong into lines of business that failed.

Subscription music is the dumbest of the two things they're looking at. The primary problem with it is that they're trying to sell a music service that likely won't be portable because I sincerely doubt their service will be compatible with anything other than a computer screen. The reason this is a problem is that people don't tend to consume music sitting in front of their computer screen to the degree they consume it sitting in a car/bus/etc commuting or exercising or just generally out and about. The lack of hardware support - especially from the Gorilla in the room throwing Apples - is the main reason why these services haven't gained a lot of traction.

They could be hoping that Smart Phones +Tablets + "Apps" take this long standing limitation away but... why? Where's the compelling reason that their service is going to survive longer or be more successful than the others that have come and died before it? There isn't one and there really hasn't been since everyone started selling unencumbered MP3's: just buy the music you like and listen to it forever. The rest? Well, there's a shit ton of free streaming on the web (hi YouTube!, check the Link Storage or CBC R3 for other examples), that already work with those platforms, by and large, to scratch the itch for that song you kinda sorta like sometimes or find something new. So, why would you want to pay a fee to do that on a permanent basis just to be able to keep songs you like?

Next up: lets start renting movies now that Blockbuster's Shuttered all its stores!


Look, it's not necessarily a bad idea because, by all accounts, BB Canada was making money until the US Bankruptcy Courts noticed that they were put up as collateral against that division's debts and pulled the plug but... why would you want to step into a dying business model when your core problem is that you're already a dying business model?

They're clutching at straws here and unless they've hired an absolute fucking genius to enact these my gut says their best outcome would be to continue to tread water.

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