Virgin has launched a new digital music download service in the UK. Sir Richard Branson launched the service on Friday, appearing in London via a hologram recording. The launch comes a few days ahead of HMV's rival service, which will be made available next week. The service will be compatible with mp3 players, but not the iPod.

Virgin allows users to access music online from its vast "jukebox", either on a pay-as-you-go or monthly subscription basis. There are options to buy music and keep it permanently or effectively rent it by continuing to pay subscriptions.