Physical vs. Digital

With the recent news of HMV going into administration, is the future of the physical release on the sharp decline or is online shopping simply to blame? Physical vs. Digital!

English: HMV, Manchester Arndale

English: HMV, Manchester Arndale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the last year, digital sales have become a very common and popular option with the internet being everywhere we go pushing down the sales for physical copies of music, films and games. It’s also an option that allows for the sale of products at the stroke of midnight so that your files are ready to download as soon as you want them. For me, a physical release of an anticipated album or film is a special thing. For example, the artwork that accompanies a CD is part of the experience and is often connected to the themes of the music itself.

Recent statistics say that a quarter of the entertainment market is now digital with an increase of 11.4% in 2012 compared to 2011. This was the first time that over £1bn was spent in the UK for digital releases alone. Another sign of decline for the physical release is the drop of sales in 2011 that fell by 17.6% although it still makes up the larger part of the market. An obvious factor that comes into play is the use of illegal downloading with releases often being leaked before general release tempting internet uses to get an early and free copy of entertainment products.

Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

With all of the above to consider, the high streets have been struggling to say the least. Are people becoming lazy with shopping? I think the answer is both yes and no. I admit to using sites such as Amazon and Play.com as they offer better deals. An example of this was just before Christmas when looking for the latest Led Zeppelin DVD for a family member. High street store HMV were charging £10 more in store than Amazon and with everyone watching their wallets these days, who would you go with? It’s also an issue of convenience with your items simply showing up at your front door with no need to pop on the bus or drive into town which again creates cost in one form another.

Whatever the reasoning for lower street sales, let’s hope our high streets aren’t left empty through means of online shopping.

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