HMV mulls music download plan

HMV is considering selling digital downloads in stores, as it aims to take advantage of the iPod boom.

HMV e-commerce director Stuart Rowe said the retailer has technology at its listening posts that can betweaked to enable shoppers with MP3 players to download tracks.

At the moment, customers can listen to 30-second samples of CDs at in-store listening posts.

Rowe said: 'We want to utilise the store network to promote our download service. Using the stores is a great way to get firepower in the (digital) market. Our plans are very well advanced.'

Rowe refused to comment further on specific digital download plans for HMV. The retailer is expected to make an announcement on its digital music strategy later this year.

HMV has stated in the past that it wants to be a big player in the download market, but has been considering its options carefully to ensure it makes the right move. The retailer has been searching for a head of digital to spearhead its strategy and report to Rowe.

At the moment, HMV offers digital downloads online via OD2, a company founded by ex-Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, who sold it to US business Loudeye for US$37 million (£20.3 million).

Last month, Apple launched its iTunes music download service in the UK and sold 450,000 tracks in the first week.