HMV Jumps On DRM Free Bandwagon

Aims to turn around its recent profits slump.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when HMV ruled the music buying high street. Irony is it still does, but with the tidal wave of online downloads that is not enough anymore…

Last week the retail giant saw profits drop an incredible 73 per cent from the previous year and its meagre presence in the online download market has been identified as a major reason why. Consequently like Amazon, iTunes and many tiddlers alongside them HMV has decided to hop onto the EMI fuelled DRM-free music download sector and is hoping for success via the usual route: undercut iTunes.

Whereas iTunes offers DRM-free music at an increased 256kbps bitrate for a hefty £1.29 per track HMV will cut its users a far better deal providing fidelity thick 328kbps tracks at just 79p each – a near 40 per cent saving. Furthermore – since the whole point of DRM-free music is that they will play on any hardware of software – these downloads can be purchased from HMV then added into an iTunes collection.

Has HMV seen the light? Well possibly, but given that its download site is still so backwards that it doesn’t support either Firefox or Windows Vista (above) I’m thinking there are still some rather cavernous wrinkles to sort out along the way…

HMV Digital (Warning progressive Firefox users and suffering Vista owners)

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