HMV goes digital

HMV has launched its music download service HMVDigital in a bid to rival iTunes.

The launch of HMVDigital is part of the entertainment retailer’s strategy to transform the business into a “broad based entertainment brand”.

The service offers music fans 10m song tracks available to download.

HMV says the download service offers “more intuitive and engaging customer experience” and “innovative features” that set it apart from rivals.

HMVDigital is compatible across Mac and PCs and automatically synchs with iTunes or Windows Media Player depending on the users preferences.

The service will also remember users’ download history and can recover previously downloaded music at no extra cost if a computer crashes.

The digital download service is powered by 7Digital following HMV’s deal to buy a 50% stake in the digital music provider, which also operates music streaming service Spotify.

HMVDigital operates via a standalone web portal, but can also be accessed via HMV’s online store.

To support the service’s launch HMV is running a viral campaign that offers users five free downloads.

HMVDigital is also running a number of price-led launch promotions including offering the tracks in the Top 40 for 40 pence, chart albums for £4.99 and a selection of greatest hits albums for £4.99.

Albums downloaded via the service will normally cost around £7.99 and individual tracks will range from 79p to 99p.

Sarah Hughes, HMV’s Head of Online and Digital, comments: “We are delighted to launch a world class download store that reflects both HMV’s music retailing heritage and our strategy to be a broad-based

Entertainment brand. Our partners at 7Digital have built for us a significantly improved new site that looks great and has never been easier to use.  With so many innovative and wonderful features, it offers a truly intuitive and engaging customer experience that I very much hope will lead to HMV becoming a bigger player in the burgeoning digital market.”

HMV has also entered into live music through its acquisition of live venue group Mama and launched its own music festival The Next Big Thing, hosting live gigs at six of its joint owned venues in London.

It has also partnered with independent cinema group Curzon to open a cinema above its Wimbledon store.

In June, HMV reported a 17.7% rise in pre-tax profit to £74.2m and a 3.1% rise in total sales to more than £2bn. Like for like sales, however, which strip out new stores, dipped 2.4%.

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