Keen to get in on the same fun as Napster and Apple are apparently having in their digital music download services, UK based retailer HMV will soon relaunch its download service
. Currently, the company offers downloads via European digital music distributor OD2, but will be upgrading its service significantly in the near future. In a revamp of the service set to cost the company £10m, HMV will try to position itself as a key player in this market when it launches the service in H2 2005. However, there are some format considerations for the would-be customer.
The new service will, like the current one, offer content in Windows Media format. That means it won't work with iPods, of course, but HMV reckons there will be plenty of devices out there that will be able to play songs downloaded from its site.
HMV naturally claimed that WMA support would prove more "important" than catering to iPod owners, but then it has little choice in the matter. While Apple refuses to licence its FairPlay DRM technology, stores like HMV can't support iPods no matter how keen they are to do so, or how strong the player's market share is.