One stop, bargain basement, warehouse discount priced, musical retailer Alans Billy Hyde went into voluntary receivership this week along with the string of companies help by parent company Australian Music Group Holdings. This leaves me with an interesting confusion of thoughts;
- They did employ musicians – Every musician in Melbourne knows at least one person who has work at Hydes in one capacity or another. Whilst I’ve heard the pay and conditions weren’t great, places that provide employment opportunities for musicians get a tick of approval in my book. It’s a shame that these positions may disappear or be cut back.
- Alans Billy Hyde were the Coles/Woolworths of music stores – Along with being a retailer Australian music holdings also had exclusive importing rights to products such as D’Addario, Ampeg, Pearl, Korg and Gator to name a few. This meant that they were able to supply these product at a much cheaper price than any of their competitors hence squeezing smaller independent stores. For example Hydes customers were able to buy D’Addario strings for a cheaper price from Hydes than independent stores could wholesale! I know for a fact that there will be many independent stores breathing a sigh of relief at this news.
- They were a victim of their own pricing policy – Part of Hyde’s strategy was to simply be cheaper. If you went store to store you’d find that the tag price was cheaper or they were willing to beat any competitor’s price. The only problem is that no one goes store to store anymore, everyone shops on the Internet meaning that they were competing with US prices. These prices they were unwilling or unable to beat despite being the importer of many products.
- A victim of their own business strategy? – Until 2010 there were two major music retailers, Alans and Billy Hyde. Everyone stopped going to Alans because they were too expensive; let’s face it half their products were supplied by Billy Hyde’s parent company so this is not surprising. So they “merged” which in real terms meant that Billy Hyde bought out Alans. It’s not hard imagine now that the real winners from this deal were the ex-owners of Alans as they managed to offload a brand that was no longer profitable.
So musicians are now back to paying their rent with furniture removal jobs (don’t worry the pay’s a lot better.) but if this is in anyway repeats what happened when Borders went bust, then there is a boom coming for Independent musical retailers.