Music

RIP, HMV: How will Halifax music-lovers fill the void?

Record store owners and staff hope customers will choose to "shop local"

HMV in the Halifax Shopping Centre has started their “everything must go” sale.   Jillian Ellsworth

Local music shops may benefit from the recently-announced closure of HMV stores across Canada.

The retail chain, which employs over 1,300 people, is set to close its doors within a few months after being placed into receivership late last week.

Candace Redden, who owns Renegade Records in Dartmouth, says HMV’s closure is in not surprising.

“I think the corporate monster was blind in one eye not to see this coming given the frosty climate for music sales in the last decade,” says Redden.

She says the staff at HMV have been supportive of her shop over the years, so she will “miss the employees, not the corporate entity.”

Renegade Records has a large selection for music lovers   Jillian Ellsworth

Renegade Records has been open for 21 years. Redden says the closure of HMV “can’t hurt” her business and that Renegade has been “a great alternate source for the hard copy shopper” for years.

Taylor English works at the Dartmouth branch of Taz Records, another locally owned music store and says it is frustrating to hear people complaining about big businesses closing when there is the option to shop locally and put money back into the community.

“It’s important to me to shop local because I like seeing the community around me thrive,” English says. “Once you start frequenting local businesses, you get to know the faces behind them and you want to offer your support.”

The Halifax branch of Taz Records   Jillian Ellsworth

English says the high number of jobs lost due to the closure is the one downside to the chain’s shutdown. But, at the “risk of sounding cynical,” she sees HMV as “a huge money making machine” and would like to see people spending their money elsewhere.

April Crowley, a native of Margaree Cape Breton, says she is sad to see HMV close its doors, even if it is a large corporation. Crowley would often shop at Halifax’s HMV — the closest branch to Cape Breton, which is a five-hour drive away — during her visits to the municipality.

Crowley comes from a family of musicians and prides herself on purchasing the music she listens to rather than pirating it. Because of this, she was happy to support HMV as well as local shops.

“I prefer hard covers over an e-reader, CD’s over my iPod and a handwritten letter over an email,” says Crowley. “I believe it’s people like me who have kept HMV open as long as they have been.”

As HMV locations must cease operation by April, hard copy music lovers will need to find new places to hunt for music-related treasures.