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HMV Online Download Takes on iTunes


HMV Online Music Store Takes on iTunes

HMV has today launched a music download store at hmvdigital.com.

The company said that it has some 10 million DRM-free songs available in its catalogue. All downloads are in MP3 format at either 320K, 256k or 192k bit-rates. Most tracks cost 99p, while most albums are selling for £4.99.

The store hopes to fire a broadside against the competition by offering all Top 40 singles for just 40p – though this is just a one month promo offer.

It enters a crowded market with similar sites from Amazon, Tesco, Play.com, and Sky Songs, not to mention the biggest player, iTunes. HMV Digital is powered by 7 Digital, the service used by Spotify for selling purchased downloads.

The HMV store is a relaunch of its 2005 effort which offered WMA only DRMed tracks. However, it hopes to have better fortunes with the new service.

"Some people still tend to think of us as a traditional retailer, but the fact is we've completely transformed our business, " Melanie Armstrong, HMv’s head of music said in today's Sun. "The launch of hmvdigital means we have a world-class music download platform. It is a genuine alternative to other digital music services."

Time will tell.

Link: HMV Digital


July 26, 2010, 8:01 pm

That's a bit expensive to start of with.

Play.com offers 320Kb tracks at 80p each...


July 26, 2010, 8:03 pm

99p a track is far too expensive. You might as well just use iTunes just for the convenience. I use tunechecker to find the best price and buy from there. Normally tunetribe or Amazon.

I do feel like a lot of these services are missing a trick by not offering mobile apps. I've used Amazon MP3 countless times on my Desire just for the convenience. Some competition would be good.


July 26, 2010, 8:17 pm

it still boggles my mind why anyone would use iTunes for buying music - they are very expensive compared to their rivals


July 26, 2010, 9:54 pm

@Jay: most everyday folk don't know ant better, also its just convenience. You buy an appl mobile media device then you use itoons to get your content easily and it integrates perfectly with your gadget, no thinking, no tinkering...simple as that.

ThIs what other manufacturers have missed out on and its a shame.

Of course there is also the factor of its the only software that has its own music festival.


July 26, 2010, 9:54 pm

It is too expensive, but at least the top 40 is relatively cheap. Now, just need some decent music to enter the chart before the one month promotion is over.

@Jay - I buy most of my music from Amazon MP3 but iTunes still has a slightly larger selection, so occasionally I'll buy from there. That's the only reason I still use them. The fact you have to go through iTunes (which I no longer use) to purchase music, is a big turn-off for me. Web based stores are the future, I think.


July 26, 2010, 11:14 pm

Someone might consider standing out in a crowded market by offering Lossless downloads. I still buy most my music on CD because I resent paying a similar price for something of lower quality (e.g. 320kbps MP3).


July 27, 2010, 2:02 am

How typical of HMV, provide an identical service to everyone else and charge more for it. THAT's why they're not doing well. It's not the internet per se, it's not digi-distro per se, it's the consistent fact that HMV has always been more expensive than the competitors.

The same thing happened a few years ago when HMV claimed that their CD sales were slumping so they were cutting prices. The problem is, before the price cut it was about £15 per CD compared to £10 everywhere else... I've seen CDs priced at £20 in HMV a few years ago that were less than £10 in the store right next to it...

anyway, enough ranting, HMV need to get cheaper before they can get relevant again. It's their biggest obstacle by far.


July 27, 2010, 3:33 am


Agreed - I still listen to CDs as I have ripped them at varying bit rates and still not been happy. I'd consider paying extra for lossless

Neil B

July 27, 2010, 5:34 pm

@BONE5. It's conceivable that a 320Kbps MP3 could be higher quality than a CD. Depending on if the MP3 is made from the original source or a rip from the CD. Most modern music will be produced at 24bit 96Khz whereas a CD is only 16bit and 11Khz. This of course depends on what genre of music and when it was recorded.



July 27, 2010, 8:04 pm

Neil B - CD is 16bit, 44.1KHz.

Downloaded MP3, and AAC audio files from iTunes, are usually 16bit/44.1KHz, are they not? They are also compressed to 320/256/192kbps, depending where you buy them. How would a 320kbps MP3 be higher quality than an uncompressed CD when both are 16bit/44.1KHz?

Neil B

July 27, 2010, 9:01 pm

@Metalex - Yes, my mistake, CD is of course 44.1KHz.

I've never used itunes so I can't comment on tracks from there. If the MP3 has been encoded from the original production (so 24bit 96KHz) then the 320kbps MP3 will be better quality than CD. This is the case with some tracks on sites like Beatport for example or if you buy directly from the artist like I have done in the past.


July 31, 2010, 6:20 pm

Had a look. Saw a Durutti Column album - 192kb coding? 15 pounds?

Happy for the review to get me in. 30 s later - never going back.

I can't understand why HMV management think the brand name is greater or sufficient for people to part with their money.

HMV - learn to compete - not con people and provide inferior product at excessive rates.

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