Thursday 23rd October: Whatever format you prefer to purchase (or otherwise) your music in, you can't possibly disagree that the internet is the best thing since sliced bread.
Whether it's tracking down long deleted albums through auction sites, buying regular stuff from mainstream sites or simply trying something new from small bands' websites/networking pages, the sheer volume of stuff out there is mind-blowing. Vinyl, CD or digital download, whatever format you want is at your fingertips whenever you want it.
Why am I suddenly spouting off like this? Well, to put it simply, it's because I came to realise yesterday how poor the bricks-and-mortar version of HMV is, at least in York.
There are two HMV outlets in our fair city - one in the centre and one on an out-of-town shopping park. I try to avoid the latter. It's the smaller of the two and, with limited floor space, generally limits its stock to mainly newer stuff. I had, however, been given a not inconsiderable amount of HMV vouchers so off I trundled into the centre to spend them, thinking that the bigger store would have a lot more choice.
It used to be that the vast majority of the downstairs was given over to rock/pop/chart CDs. Yesterday, there was probably less than half of that floorspace given to music at all. The rest had been taken over by DVD boxsets and sale DVDs, presumably in the run-up to Christmas. I don't mind DVDs. I've got quite a few. I just didn't want to buy any yesterday.
So I meandered about the (small) selection of CDs, trying to find something to buy that would get me the best return on my vouchers. There was a 2-for-£10 offer on, which meant I could have walked out with ten CDs. But there was very little decent in it. I'm not a big fan of most chart CDs (and those that I do want are on my Christmas wish-list anyway) so I checked out the full price selection and walked out with just five CDs (after adding nearly a tenner cash to the vouchers...)
It's not that I'm picky when it comes to buying CDs. I like a wide variety of music and if I were ever to win the lottery there are probably hundreds of CDs that I'd like to own. It's more that HMV's selection, if you don't want the latest WestZone or High School Aloud album is extremely limited. I went in with a few ideas of what I was after and walked out with completely different CDs. And their prices are astronomical. I know I wasn't actually paying for the stuff but three of my purchases cost me £16 each - all of them are cheaper not only at the likes of Play.com but also on HMV's own website. The trouble is, you don't seem to be able to spend the gift vouchers online.
So, what did I buy?
Queen: - Jazz
Queen: - A Day At The Races
Asia: - Live In The USA
Asia: - Phoenix
Roger Waters: - In The Flesh
Despite the above rant, I'm looking forward to hearing them all and I may even get time to write reviews of some of them.
In the meantime, whenever I'm planning to buy music I'll stick to sending my credit card details over the web. More choice, less cost works for me every time.