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HMV Digital app rolls out in Canada

By | Published on Friday 13 December 2013

HMV Digital

HMV has rolled out its new download store to the good people of Canada. Which means they too can now fire up their Android-powered phones, scan in a album cover, capture a song in the air, and be immediately taken to a little place on the mobile internet where they can download the tracks those pictures or sounds are attached to for future music-based good times. Or they can access the mobile-centric service from their iPhone and wonder a little what the point is.

The HMV companies in Canada and the UK are now back in common ownership, of course, Hilco having acquired the Canadian business in 2011, and then rescued the UK enterprise when it fell into administration earlier this year. The HMV Group, of course, never really cracked the download market, having launched several lacklustre stores and services over the years, so one of Hilco’s key challenges after acquiring the two HMV firms was what to do with digital content.

HMV Canada had a head start, not being distracted for most of 2012 by impending oblivion, and at the start of the year it put a platform called The Vault into beta, offering both streaming and downloads. The service went properly live in April, just as Hilco was getting to grips with its recent HMV UK acquisition, leading to speculation the retailer might enter the rather competitive streaming music space over here too.

But then in October the British side of HMV launched an all-new HMV Digital app, which was very much a conventional download store, albeit a mobile centric one with some artwork and Shazam-style sound recognition hoo haa stuck on the front. It’s a decent experience on Android devices, though the iOS version is more limited, especially since Apple stopped the retailer from actually selling music through the app.

HMV’s digital chief James Coughlan, who has a global remit, previously indicated that the new app would be launched in Canada too, so it wasn’t especially surprising when the retailer’s Canadian division quietly parked The Vault last month. And low and behold, the HMV Digital app has now gone live over there.

Coughlan told reporters: “I’m excited to say that we’re putting music ownership back into focus with the launch of our new digital music products in Canada. Today we kick-start our wider digital strategy roll-out and allow music lovers to enjoy the traditional HMV shopping mall experience, with the ability to discover and build a high quality digital music collection, delivered and managed across devices, from HMV, the home of entertainment”.