Steve Redmond on the new spirit at HMV

Wednesday October 23, 2013

Isn't it good to see HMV with a spring in its step again?

One of the notable things when HMV hit its problems - albeit many of them self-inflicted - a year ago was the genuinely supportive reaction of both suppliers and competitors alike.

No one wanted to see HMV go down. It may have been appallingly mismanaged in recent years, but the folk memory of the pioneer and innovator it had once been lingered on. On a practical level both competitors and suppliers were united in the knowledge that without the weighty presence of HMV much of the physical music business simply wouldn't be viable any more.

And so we were pleased when it found a buyer in Hilco, although there was still the fear that it would simply be run into the ground by a bunch of asset-strippers.

So what a pleasant surprise it has been to see the HMV of the past few weeks. First it re-connected with its past with the inspired return to 363 Oxford Street, first opened by Sir Edward Elgar in 1921. Then this week it achieved something no physical retailer has done in a decade of iTunes - it put Apple on the back foot in their spat over HMV's music discovery app.

In the process it has become a lightning rod for other retailers' long-standing resentment of what they perceive as Apple's anti-competitive behaviour.

In a word, HMV has recaptured for the moment its time-honored crown as industry thought-leader.

Welcome back, HMV.

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