HMV is going all digital with its relaunch, delivering new Android and iOS apps to allow music purchases, alongside a new website heavily influenced by app culture and using HTML5 to increase functionality across Windows and Blackberry devices.
The revamped site isn't quite ready yet – the official launch is pencilled in for next week – though it's already showing its more contemporary style and a partnership with Paul McCartney. The plan in the future is to allow people to not only buy pre-existing music, but to pre-order it too, thereby when it launches it's automatically downloaded and synced with your iTunes collection and playlists.
With the app itself, there are a couple of features designed to make it easier for you to find music you like or want to hear more of. If you're listening to a song somewhere and like it, you can use the app to find out what it is in the same way as Shazam, and then buy that track of the associated album. Similarly, scanning an album cover will let you listen to previews of the songs, giving you a taste of what you might then buy.
And it's this embracing of digital that is the driving force behind HMV's revolution, currently being spearheaded by Vodafone alumni, James Coughlan, who was brought in by Hilco after it bought up HMV and saved it from administration in the early months of this year.
“What we're doing here by bringing a digital offering to market is we're amplifying what HMV's renowned for,” he said while speaking with Wired. “I see this lifting our physical business as well, because you probably are going to have experiences where you're in store and you're scanning physical products and the digital version may be a couple of quid higher than the physical copy you've got in your hand.”
Previously HMV has tried to reinvent itself as a hardware store, selling headphones and other physical peripherals and accessories. However, with other tech hardware outlets like Comet closing and Jessops too circling the drain, it's not that much of a surprise that that experience didn't work out too well for it.
While it seems like HMV is entering a pretty competitive space, especially since it's coming off of some serious down time and is new to this whole digital distribution thing, we've seen GAME come back from the dead and that now seems to be doing reasonably well – at least if you compare it to a few months before its administration, where publishers wouldn't even let it sell their games.
Kitguru Says: What do you guys think of HMV's makeover? Do you think it'll be enough to turn the business around?