Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks...

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? If the ‘old dog’ in question is Nipper, age-old emblem of iconic music retailer HMV, then we’re about to be proved wrong in spectacular fashion.

HMV recently announced its expansion into the live music market – an industry that’s worth a reported £1bn. The retailer’s 50% share in 11 Mama-owned music venues will result in famous live venues such as the Hammersmith Apollo renamed with the company’s letters prefixed in blazingly branded HMV pink.

Chief Executive Simon Fox has stated that the physical music market is changing (no prizes for stating the bleeding obvious) and that by purchasing a piece of the live music market, HMV will be able to attract a younger demographic and build relationships with artists and fans. Under the surface however, this move is much more than an extended brand-building exercise. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jan/14/hmv-enters-live-music-market)

The retail industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges and HMV’s move to secure alternative revenue streams must surely be recognised for the astute piece of commercial thinking that it is.

Earning money from live gigs and events is an extremely shrewd move and could ultimately see HMV come out of this recession even stronger than when it went in. Whilst revenue from live events and CD sales should combine nicely to ensure HMV’s economic security during these challenging economic conditions, the long-term branding benefits could prove very interesting indeed.

So can you teach an old dog new tricks? To quote another well-known phrase, ‘fortune favours the brave’ and HMV have clearly made a bold move launching into the live music environment. Bob Dylan sings that ‘The times they are a changing’ and in order to survive in today’s uncertain market, companies are going to have to change with it – well done HMV.

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