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Cut back HMV app available in Apple store

By | Published on Friday 1 November 2013


So when I went to update the apps on my iPhone last night the latest changes to the Twitter app promised an enhanced timeline, the iPlayer upgrade provided a “facelift”, and Netflix changes merely addressed some bugs. And the latest upgrade to the HMV download app? “Download buttons removed”. Exciting times.

Yes, HMV’s proprietary app has been refreshed in order to comply with the laws of Apple, removing the bit of functionality that allows users to actually buy and download music, because that involved the entertainment retailer taking money outside the app interface, which breaches Apple’s app rules (mainly because it excludes the tech giant from the transaction process, depriving Apple of a cut).

As previously reported, the all-new HMV launched its first digital play last month, with a mobile-centric service designed to encourage customers to access the firm’s digital platform while inside their high street stores. At the core of it all is a bespoke Android app, though not wanting to exclude iPhone users an iOS version of said app was also available.

And while not as sophisticated as its Android counterpart, it did include the proprietary download transaction element, a first for a third party iOS music app, though mainly because all of HMV’s rivals followed the aforementioned Apple rules which ban such functionality. Though, as HMV continues to point out, Apple did initially approve the retailer’s app, though quickly changed its mind once it realised the transactional bit was in there.

That resulted in HMV’s iOS app being removed from the Apple store within days of it going live. The above mentioned update, removing the download bit of the operation, means the app can now return to Apple’s app shop. The two key gimmicks of the app – sound and visual recognition tools – remain, and iPhone-using customers can still buy tracks from HMV via their phone, they just have to close the app and logon to the retailer’s mobile website to do so (a service initially set up to service Blackberry and Microsoft phone users).

Confirming all this, the new HMV’s digital man James Coughlan told CMU: “We’ve had an extremely positive response since the launch of our new digital download products and the news today confirms that iOS users can continue to enjoy the HMV image and sound search features that everyone is talking about!”

Meanwhile the boss of Hilco, which bought HMV out of administration earlier this year, Paul McGowan, said: “Whilst it is disappointing that direct purchases cannot be made in the app, Apple device users have a very simple and straightforward process through Safari to continue to purchase through HMV and to then listen to their tracks on their Apple device. This is a strong compromise position for HMV and we look forward to Apple device owners once again buying and enjoying their digital music through HMV”.