Hastings has a long standing musical scene with a committed audience. However, things may start to change for music lovers as music stores have been hit hard by Brexit and the digital age of online shopping.
Brexit has led to a decrease in the value of the British pound and retailers are finding it difficult to keep big name brands in stock. Roger Flag, manager at B&T music, stated, “The cost to retailers has gone up enormously because of the weak pound. Obviously if the pound’s worth less you need to spend more for the same item.” This has created an increased dependency on second hand items which still cost stores to acquire and repair and are sold at lower prices, leading to minimal profit.
The age of digital retailers has also hit stores hard as well. Customers are enjoying the convenience of digital stores such as Amazon and even purchase instruments directly from manufacturer websites. “… people’s habits have changed from going to the shops to buying online and a lot of people are in such a habit that when they want to buy something they just automatically order it off Amazon.” Flag said. More people are looking to buy instruments online rather and instead go to music stores for maintenance services rather than product purchasing.
While Hastings has maintained its active music scene over the years, music business owners and customers should be wary despite this as more and more people are turning their attention to more affordable and convenient means of obtaining their new instruments.