But It’s Cheaper Online! :: The High Street Price Point Of Music


Inside you’ll find a plethora of ‘2 for £10’ offers…sometimes even ‘3 for £10’…many titles at just £4.99 and Gaga’s ‘The Fame’, Michael Jackson’s ‘Gold’ and JLS’ self titled all available for £2.99…

Yes, the likes of HMV can seem like a world of bargains for the average pop fan and this likely explains how the music retailer has managed to keep a high street presence despite the fact that online retail is increasingly becoming the hotspot for seeking the best deals. If you happen to like music by bands and artists that – for the most part – escape public consciousness however, you are far less likely to be happy with the in-store RRP’s of those album you wish to add to your collection.

And in many respects, this is rightly so. Independent artists can struggle to make a living (or even, a profit) from their music and so it makes ethical sense to part with a larger amount of your money for titles by such artists. But in the wake of money saving services such as Spotify, Last.FM, and illegal file sharing (naughty!), paying a premium for new music is becoming increasingly unattractive to consumers.

I had £30 of HMV gift cards saved up and so last week, I decided to visit my local store to spend them.  I seemed to walk around the shop for a good half hour in what seemed to be an endless looping motion, uninspired by the racks of disks that surrounded me. I spotted several titles that I would have bought had they have had a lower price tag, including Baddies ‘Do the Job’ (priced at £13.99), Shpongle’s ‘Nothing Lasts But Nothing is Lost’ (also £13.99) and mewithoutYou’s ‘It’s All Crazy, It’s All False’ which had the colossal price tag of £16.99.

I had previously seen each of these titles retailing for far less on various online outlets.

Even though the items wouldn’t have cost me anything thanks to my gift cards, I still felt that blowing them on just two albums would not equate the best of deals. I eventually left the shop with a £7 copy of Frank Turner’s ‘Love, Ire and Song’ (which I felt was more than fairly priced) but I decided to pocket the rest of my credit for use another time.

One might argue that if I loved said music enough, I wouldn’t complain. But hey, I do have to pay rent and eat! Besides which, my annoyance with these high price points is further stimulated by the fact that HMV’s in store and online prices also differ greatly. When I arrived home, I noticed that the Frank Turner CD I had just bought was available for just £4.99 from the online store (including free delivery). I also noticed that many titles from Deftones’ discography were also available for just £4.99 online, whereas in store they carry a significantly higher price tag.

This is possibly a direct result of brick and mortar stores having higher overheads to cover but I can’t help but feel cheated.

I think in the future I will continue to use the internet to source the best prices for music. I would not be surprised if in just a few years time everyone is forced to use their debit and credit cards to do the same but equally, there is something to be said for the convenience that local HMV stores provide shoppers. To purchase and item and to have it immediately in your hands equates instant gratification for customers, unlike the delay experienced when waiting for the Royal Mail to delivery an online order.

You can follow the author of this guest post – Kat Cole – on Twitter @DeadBoomerang.

One Response to “But It’s Cheaper Online! :: The High Street Price Point Of Music”

  1. Ian the king says:

    I agree with this article in whole apart from the final point, Kat. Though there is that instant gratification from an instore purchase, I FUCKING LOVE GETTING MAIL! Great stuff though, I think online buying is cool and fine, as long as it is online BUYING and not downloading, and the buying is a physical copy, I like physical copies. But that’s just me.

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