Wednesday, 30 January 2013

'Another one bites the dust': The decline of retail in the UK (HMV and Blockbuster)

Earlier in January 2013, both HMV and Blockbuster have went into liquidation.

Some news reports have posed questions like who will take their place on the high street, while others speculate that Amazon has been the root cause of their collapse.A good background piece on HMV can be found here.

I have seen very little attention paid to piracy.

Undoubtedly, recent shifts have offered excellent rivals to purchasing physical copies of CD's, DVD's/Blu-Ray and video games. Spotify, for example, continues to prosper. Equivalents in the realm of film such as LoveFilm and Netflix are also proving increasingly popular.

The reason is the emerging preference for all things digital, given the increased functionality and convenience of digital goods. This includes pirated media.

News reports covering the collapse of HMV and Blockbuster are perhaps the post possible modes of communicating the scale and impact of piracy to the wider public. As such, it's a shame that there has not been any real effort to do this.

Is it because piracy is not relevant? Perhaps. Exact figures, as with all crime, are elusive. The fact is that piracy is still a major threat to the creative industries where one need only search #torrent or #piratebay on Twitter to see that people are actively watching screeners of major Hollywood, ahem, Blockbusters prior to theatrical release. All sorts of tips on how to avoid being caught are exchanged on Twitter and other forms of social media (not to mention all the password protected forums).

People are increasingly more reluctant to pay for music and movies. They don't have to. It's easy to access them without risk of being caught. This deserves to be communicated to the wider public.

If nothing else, this blog entry draws attention to video games, where the Call of Duty series continues to sell millions of units legally, raking in more money than any Hollywood Blockbuster has in the last 5 years. Why? It deserves to be explored in more depth and will feature in a forthcoming blog entry.

For now, current reports suggest both HMV and Blockbuster may survive, in one guise or another. Time will tell.

One thing is certain, 'the times they are a-changin'.

Occasional Tweetage @musicpiracyblog

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