Some say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Some say old dogs don’t need new tricks. Some say… Yeah – we could be here all day.
But what’s important, and has made news, is that HMV has launched its first app that allows for users to search for DRM FreeMusic. The troubled entertainment retailer has seen an unprecedented decline in its revenue, sales and general customer interest in the brand. HMV was founded in 1921, but began as early as 1890, with a Gramophone company. For all you out there who don’t know what a gramophone is – take a look at a traffic cone, stick against an MP3 player – that’s about as close as you’ll get today. Or alternatively, just Google it.
HMV reopened its original Oxford Street store only last month, the old aged chain has found it difficult to cope with the new digital download revolution – facing stiff competition from the likes of iTunes, but now largely streaming services like Spotify. HMV’s new app is aimed at “bring the experience of discovery” back to music, allowing users to search for free DRM music. But it’s not free at the end of the day, normal previews are available to listen to for free – but users are then redirected to the online HMV store, where DRM free music is available. Hilco, who bought HMV after it went into administration, has said it is the first time that users can buy music directly from an app on Apple’s iOS ecosystem – apart from when using iTunes. The app uses SoundCloud to listen to and recognise music tracks, but users can also search for albums and tracks using the camera – snapping cover art.
“I’m excited to say that we’re putting music ownership back into focus with the launch of our new digital music products,” said James Coughlan, Managing Director of HMV Digital. “For the first time, music lovers have the ability to experience the traditional feel of HMV on the high street and have the option to discover and build a digital music collection, delivered and managed across devices, from HMV, the Home of Entertainment.”
HMV has found itself in a flood of woes, anger and uncertainty in the last few months. The retail giant has not adapted to a changing market and prices haven’t adjusted to the comparably cheap online catalogues. It is yet to be seen if this new move by HMV will save the chain, after all that dog must get tired of listening to a piece of 19th century disco tech. We don’t know if this change will be for the good, if HMV can really tackle the gargantuan iTunes or fend off streaming services. But at face value, it seems you can teach an old dog new tricks. It’s just they might not be that good.