HMV seeks digital boss to drive downloads

HMV is to recruit a head of digital to drive forward Internet download plans.

The retailer wants to hire as soon as possible and the successful candidate will report to HMV Europe e-commerce director Stuart Rowe.

HMV was tight-lipped about its precise plans, but Rowe said that an announcement will come later this year.

Rowe said: 'We see digital downloads as potentially a big growth market. All the record companies are putting more of their catalogue online.'

Apple's iTunes service generates sales of about US$1 million (£545,000) a week, but accounts for only 0.5 per cent of the US music market, Rowe said, illustrating digital's growth potential.

At present, HMV uses rock legend Peter Gabriel's OD2 company for its digital music downloads. It offers more than 200,000 tracks.

Globally, record sales last year fell by more than 7 per cent, according to music industry body IFPI. On Wednesday, music giant EMI announced 1,500 job losses and axed artists to cut costs.