HIGH STREET RECORD EMPORIUM HMV will finally start selling MP3 music as it tries to recover from the brink of closure.
HMV was taken into administration earlier this year and now is in the hands of Hilco, a retail restructuring business. This week it reopened its flagship Oxford Street store in London, and now we learn that it is embracing digital music, which internet firms pioneered and made good money from years ago.
Hilco is calling the new store "innovative", and is predictably excited with its announcement. In a statement on its website it suggests that it has features that make it competitive against Apple's iTunes.
HMV digital MD James Couglan said, "I'm excited to say that we're putting music ownership back into focus with the launch of our new digital music products. For the first time, music lovers have the ability to experience the traditional feel of HMV on the high street and have the option to discover and build a digital music collection, delivered and managed across devices, from HMV, the Home of Entertainment."
"An exciting vision is unfolding and I look forward to announcing further developments regarding our plans for 2014 in the coming weeks - this is just the beginning!"
The firm will let you download content from the HMV digital record store, and tunes can be saved into iTunes and Windows Media player.
"The HMV app is the first non-iTunes-based service on Apple's iOS platform to allow the purchase of digital music downloads through a native app experience," claims the press release. "The app scores another global win as the only service other than iTunes to offer MP3 pre-orders on mobile platforms."
Music fans will be able to pre-order tunes before they are released, and Hilco said that the app has features that let people scan an album cover, hear a preview of it, and buy it. The app is available now, said HMV, on Android and iOS devices.
We tried it on an iPhone 5 and it was fine. We used the sound search feature, which is powered by Soundhound, to identify three songs that we chose at random.
It picked them all and took us through to the sales page on the main HMV website. There we were offered single track MP3s for 99p.
"HMV's position at the heart of entertainment retail demands that we enable customers to buy their music from HMV in the way that best suits them and to engage more closely with the music, video and gaming worlds," said Hilco Capital CEO and HMV chairman Paul McGowan.
"Integrating a 'listening post' Image Search feature will enhance the shopping experience as music fans scan and sample albums in store over our newly-fitted high speed wifi before deciding to buy either the physical or digital product direct from HMV."
The HMV digital music store and app will be part of a new HMV website that will launch next week. µ