HMV relaunches digital strategy with free smartphone app

HMV, the music and technology retailer, has launched a free smartphone app and a new online music store as part of its digital strategy relaunch since it was acquired by commercial restructuring company Hilco Capital in April.

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HMV, the music and technology retailer, has launched a free smartphone app and a new online music store as part of its digital strategy relaunch since it was brought back from the brink of administration by commercial restructuring company Hilco Capital in April.

Customers will be able to buy MP3s directly through the app, which is available from the Apple iTunes store and Android app store.

According to HMV, it is the first non-iTunes-based service on the iOS platform to allow the purchase of digital music downloads through a native app. It is also the only service other than iTunes to offer MP3 pre-orders on mobile platforms.

In addition, the HMV app will have image and sound search capabilities.

“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,” Paul McGowan, CEO of Hilco Capital and chairman of HMV, explained.

“The new website, launching next week, together with a revitalised YouTube channel will start the journey towards enhancing the experience of interacting with the entertainment industry, an engagement that will be further increased by the massive ramp-up in the number of live events being held within our stores on an ongoing basis.”

The company has installed wifi in all its bricks-and-mortars stores to support ‘Image Search’, which it says provides a “21st century take on the music store listening booths”.

Meanwhile, a ‘Sound Search’ functionality allows customers to use their devices to hear music around them, identify the tunes and immediately buy an MP3 version.

When a customer buys an MP3, it is added to a digital locker, and a Download Manager allows users to download the purchases into their existing iTunes or Windows Media library on their PC or Mac.

HMV’s digital music store will be fully integrated into the new hmv.com website.

The digital music will be available on all platforms, including Mac OS X, Windows PC, Windows smartphones and Blackberry 10.

The HMV app is available from now in the UK and from 24 October in Ireland.