Monday, 16 January 2012

The Slow Demise of the Record Shop Lesson 15

There are very few record shops around these days. There are some brave independent shops fighting the good fight in various nooks and crannies but the only high street shop is the venerable HMV that's been around forever. It had a poor Christmas season and doesn't seem to know what to do to increase sales. Its days are probably numbered, at least as it is now, so I try to support it by shopping in my HMV of choice on Oxford Street. It is a huge shop with two floors full of music and one full of DVDs and I love browsing there, picking things up and putting them down, then picking things up and heading to the till to pay for it.

One thing I like about the big HMV shop is that it's virtually guaranteed to have every record on the day of release and, as a fan, that's when I want to pick up the new music from my heroes. Or, the re-released and re-mastered records from my heroes. So, since today, all the records from Public Image Ltd were re-released in re-mastered form (except 'Metal Box' that we re-released in 2009), I hopped on a bus to my record shop of choice and headed for 'P' in the racks and there they were - lots of shiny PiL records!

I was busy harvesting my records of choice without really paying attention, just checking they were all the re-mastered versions, when I suddenly noticed the price - £13 per CD. £13?!?! Eh? Single CDs don't cost that much these days - double albums maybe, but even then I'd think twice. I put the records back, all except for 'Happy?', a PiL album that was deleted back in the 90s and a record I never had until a year or so ago when it was finally available for download. I couldn't leave without any records, after all.

I've just taken a look on Amazon and all the PiL re-releases are priced at £6.99. Amazon is undoubtedly making a profit from selling the records so what kind of mark-up is HMV expecting to get from these records? For a company that's already in trouble, why is it going out of its way to alienate customers with a silly pricing policy? I'll buy my PiL albums from Amazon, thank you.

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