Feeds

HMV to spend £10m to catch up with Napster, Apple

Pledges to be a 'major force' in the music download market

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

UK music, movie and games retailer HMV will finally relaunch its digital music download service in the second half of 2005, the company said today.

The Register first reported on the store's plan in June this year, when we covered the retailer's move to open an online store selling iPods. Then as now, HMV offers downloads via European digital music distributor OD2, now part of US-based Loudeye. However, a company spokesman said the retailer was planning to "upgrade its download offer very significantly" in the "near future".

According to a report in today's Times, that "upgrade" will cost the company £10m and position the retailer as a "major force" in digital music when it launches in H2 2005. Right now, it doesn't exactly go out of its way to tell punters that it offers downloads.

The new service will, like the current one, offer content in Windows Media format. That means it won't work with iPods, of course, but HMV reckons there will be plenty of devices out there that will be able to play songs downloaded from its site. True, but they will also be able to get music from a wide variety of suppliers, including other OD2-hosted services, along with Napster, Wippit, Tesco and Woolworths.

HMV naturally claimed that WMA support would prove more "important" than catering to iPod owners, but then it has little choice in the matter. While Apple refuses to licence its FairPlay DRM technology, stores like HMV can't support iPods no matter how keen they are to do so, or how strong the player's market share is.

For now that may not matter. The more companies who line up behind WMA, the less each will make from the nascent download market, which isn't yet large enough to support too many of them. Apple, on the other hand, with a very large chunk of the player market in its hands, can afford to wait until the download business matures sufficiently that punters start to buy players to support whichever download service they prefer, rather than the other way round.

The download market may have developed that far by the time HMV relaunches its online service, but we doubt it. ®

Related stories

Canadian 'iPod tax' illegal, judge rules
Apple talks up mid-range Motorola 'iPod phone'
Apple iTunes sells 200m songs
Apple iPod out of tune with Real's Harmony
Napster UK song sheet passes 1m mark
Napster nips into newsagents
Digital music download coin-op to offer 'all formats, all DRMs'
EMI looks to digital as download sales quadruple
Tesco opens digital music store
The Darkness opens digital song service
iTunes Japan hits 'inadequate DRM' hurdle
Woolworths to take on Apple iTunes store
HMV iPods not compatible with store's music downloads
MusicNet to deliver music downloads to UK

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.