HMV has relaunched its digital music store today. The last high-street record store still clinging to Britain's pavements now offers over 10 million songs at HMVdigital.com, after buying half of 7digital last year. To mark the occasion, each single in the UK top 40 costs just 40p each.
The site offers 30-second previews of tunes, which otherwise cost between 79p and 99p. Albums start at £5. Music is divided into genres, and our first impression is that each artist's list of related and similar artists does a good job.
The site includes a section devoted to music from TV, which includes music advertised on telly or used in adverts.
HMVdigital.com is an integral part of HMV's drive to outlive the struggling hard-copy music industry, which has already claimed Zavvi -- that's Virgin Megastores, for anyone who isn't a teenager -- by becoming an entertainment superbrand. HMV stores now sell music-related merchandise from band t-shirts to earphones, as well as concert tickets.
Chief HMVer Simon Fox told the Guardian that digital music and live concert sales could be tied together: "Maybe after the concert we send them a track they have just heard. When the album comes out, if they've been to the concert, maybe they get a special deal on the album."
Will you be downloading your music from His Master's Voice? Does HMV have what it takes to beat Napster, Sky Songs, eMusic and the big name, iTunes? Maybe you think downloading is already dead, now we have Spotify. Thoughts in the comments, music fans.