HMV continues to spin down the spiral, unable to even launch a three year recovery plan without issuing a headline-stealing profits warning instead.
So, what's HMV's big idea, then?
HMV will install "refreshment hubs" in its music stores where customers can play computer games, log on to internet sites and make music compilations that can be burnt on to CDs while sipping coffee and juices. It will also launch its own social networking site which aims to blend the user-generated content model of YouTube and MySpace with access to copyright material that can be purchased via the site. It has already signed up Universal Music and 20th Century Fox to provide material for the site.
Is there a single five year plan document issued by any company these days that doesn't mention "MySpace/YouTube" in it? There's no indication that we see that explains why the public will flock to create their content on the HMV site rather than one of the sixty-three billion other websites relaunching themselves as Web2.0-style MySpacesque entities - and we're not sure "this is the website run by the shop where your grandad used to buy his records" is going to cut it.
So, to succeed or fail, it'll depend on the stores managing to reinvigorate the brand - and that's where the problem is. HMV stores are horrible places at the moment - cluttered, dark, noisy, clashing musics hammering over each other. And this where HMV believe people will want to sit, sipping coffee and listening to the new Dido album? Can't quite see it myself - not when every bloody store on the High Street has opened a coffee bar ("Even if you don't need to bury a loved one, why not pop into Unsworth's Funeral Director for a muffin and a cappuccino?").
You want a radical, turnaround plan, HMV? Why not turn yourself into a musical Argos - keep all the CD and DVD stock out the back, people come in and order from a catalogue. You could stock ten times the stuff you do now because you can fit more in when it's not on display, and pitch it as "Why wait for Amazon to deliver - come and get it now." Throw in a pledge along the lines of "if it's not in stock when you come, and it's on release, we'll post it to you for free." Challenge Amazon on its strength - breadth of stuff - and its weakness - the delay between order and delivery, and you might just have a compelling UPS. Sticking in a Costa Coffee and allowing people to upload mobile phone videos of themselves farting, and you might as well book a trip to the vets for dear old Nipper.