In the UK, war is brewing between the forces of HMV and Virgin, who are both set to release new services offering download music services in the next two weeks. Both services will offer paid-for downloads or a monthly subscription service, with Virgin’s online store becoming available as from Friday 2 September, and HMV’s on Monday 9 September.

HMV’s service is said to offer a flexible pricing structure, whereby customers will pay a premium price for a track from a well-known artist, but releases by newer bands will be cheaper. This is the model that many record companies are seeking iTunes to adopt.

Meanwhile, the Virgin service will include the optional extra of an ‘ask the expert’ service that will allow you to ask any music question and have it answered by one of Virgin’s experts in music. I guess for someone with no idea of how Google works, this is probably interesting.