How music-buying habits have changed

A shopper walks past an HMV store in Glasgow HMV blamed the harsh winter weather and "challenging trading conditions" for a downturn in profits

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In the same week HMV announced it was to close 40 of its UK stores, the BPI - which represents UK record labels - said music sales had fallen for the sixth consecutive year.

Yet downloading is on the up, dominating single sales and showing a dramatic increase in album sales.

Does the closure of many of HMV's stores, plus the collapse of chains like Zavvi, Tower Records and Virgin Megastore, spell the end of the high street music store?

Also, how much has illegal downloading, which the government has pledged to clamp down on, affected legal music sales?

You gave us your views.

Jonathan Britton, 26, from Northampton never buys albums any more but downloads

"I would always go into Zavvi and HMV up until about two or three years ago, but my habits have now changed. I never buy music from high street stores any more.

I don't even purchase entire albums - I just buy specific tracks. If I hear a song on the day, then I'll get an iPhone app that I have and find out what the name of the track is and buy it.

MP3 player Download sales are rising but are struggling to offset the drop in CD sales

I don't miss buying CDs at all as they can be quite expensive.

My partner and I went out to the shops the other day and we went to HMV. I had the money in my pocket to buy some tracks I wanted but instead we went to a cafe and I downloaded the songs on my iPhone.

I remember the first CD I ever bought was John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers in the mid 1990s. I got it from HMV when they had a much better selection of records in store. They used to have a huge blues and rock selection.

I still have a lot of CDs which I haven't converted though - I like the cover art or they are associated with certain memories."

Billy Binder, 62, from Nottingham used to visit his local record store but has become a digital aficionado

"Record shops had a system where if you were interested in buying a single, you could go into the record booths and listen to the songs inside before deciding whether you were going to buy them.

Billy Binder Billy Binder has joined the digital generation

We would go into the basement and listen to the records even though we had already heard them before. It was great fun. They used to offer us the old 78s as well as the 45 singles.

I never really got into tapes but when CDs came out, I sold an entire collection of records and bought CDs instead.

Now in my 60s I have ripped all 600-plus CDs to mp3s and only purchase downloads. The world has changed and I love the flexibility of digital music.

I've kept all my CDs now though, as proof that everything I've ripped is legal."

Anna Flemming, 22, from Cheshire loves CDs as she likes having something physical. She used to visit the record store with her dad

"At 22, I'm probably unusual in that the majority of the time if I want to buy music I will buy a CD.

If I want the music instantly then sometimes I will download it. But the majority of the time I listen to music from a CD, through my stereo or in the car.

Anna Flemming Anna is keen to support local record stores

There is also something quite nice about having a CD with artwork and a design printed on the disc.

My music-buying has decreased over time, though. These days I might buy a new CD once every few months, and even then it's not necessarily current music.

As a child in the 1990s and 2000s I certainly remember a lot more small, independent CD shops in local towns, narrowing down eventually to HMV being the only choice.

Although I want to support high street music shops, I often buy from internet retailers instead for convenience."

Tony Seaton, 47, a musician from Nuneaton buys music online because the High Street selection is not big enough

How our music-buying has changed

Music buyer

"From the early 1970s onwards I bought vinyl for as long as I could.

Over the last two decades I have had to relent and buy CDs - largely because much of the music I wanted was only available on that medium.

As a musician, I find MP3 is good for quick 'first try' sampling of people's music - much like cassette worked well for demo tapes in the '70s and '80s.

My biggest gripe with HMV is this: Once they squeezed the small, independent record shops who knew their customers' tastes off the market, the selection in HMV stores diminished horribly."

Gary Secret, 19, Manchester has stopped buying music altogether

"I was in HMV the other day - I got Toy Story 3 and the new Rihanna album for my missus. I just listen to music on YouTube.

I have an iPod but I haven't used it in a long, long time. I don't spend a penny, I'm not going to lie to you.

I don't spend any money on music, it's not worth it. If I'm out and about I'll just make my mates put music on."

Liam Dodson, 19, Liverpool does not buy music in stores at all

"I only really listen to rap and hip-hop music - people like Kanye West or Jay-Z or J Cole.

They come out in America a good few months before they come out over here.

I mainly download from the official websites, direct from the artists before it comes out over here.

I don't think I've ever bought anything in a record shop."

Davy Jones, 21, a student from Manchester, mixes vinyl with downloads and uses filesharing sites

Vinyl LPs Will vinyl survive the switch to MP3?

"If I was going to get some music I'd probably use YouTube to sample it, and then if I like it I'd just download the album.

I download from a couple of filesharing sites, or even use a YouTube ripper and take the tune off YouTube and compress it into an MP3.

Anything that saves money. No one wants to spend that amount of money when you can have them for free.

But when I'm DJ-ing, I use vinyl. There's a lot more respect for vinyl DJs than there is for CD DJs. I bought a record yesterday - I generally go to Eastern Bloc or Vinyl Exchange.

There's loads of people interested in records and vinyl because it's actually fair for your money.

I reckon vinyl shops will stay open way after HMV has closed. It will eventually die but it will last a lot longer."

Reporting by Kev Geoghegan, Dhruti Shah and Ian Youngs.

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