hmv launches brand into (cyber)space with the introduction of a new digital
music store

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TORONTO, July 5 /CNW/ - hmv, Canada's retail music and entertainment giant, officially launches its new Canadian digital store, This entrance into the digital world has been eagerly anticipated by customers drawn to the exclusive features of Canada's only major music download site that is 100 per cent MP3 DRM (digital rights management)-free.

Customers actively trialed's advanced technology platform over a seven-month period with a beta model and reviewed its unique features, including:

    -   A library of over 5 million high-quality tracks (and growing at a
        rate of 100,000 per week) in MP3 format, free of DRM;
    -   A vast majority of tracks offered in high-quality 320 kbps sound (CD
        quality or better);
    -   A unique "My Downloads" section that centrally stores music purchased
        from, thereby allowing consumers (who may not be at
        home or who have lost their digital music) to readily access their
        previously purchased music;
    -   User-friendly music search capability;
    -   An online music preview player that automatically plays back 30+
        second clips of any/all tracks and albums that have been selected
        while browsing. This browsed music continues playing as background
        music while customers shop the store;
    -   Compatibility with all digital music players;
    -   Accessibility in both English and French.

On the heels of valuable customer feedback received during this trial period, is officially launching today with the following:

    -   A download manager that allows for 'auto-synchronization' of downloaded products to a user's existing digital media
        player folder. Additionally, the download manager now supports all
        currently supported versions of Windows, up to and including Windows
        7 (both 32bit and 64bit versions), as well as Mac OSX and Linux;
    -   The ability to earn purehmv points on purchases that can be redeemed
        at the recently launched Arena towards exclusive money
        can't buy rewards.

"As expectations for an hmv digital offering were high, we wanted to allow ourselves time to enhance the service by evaluating consumer interest and wants. This was all in preparation for the development of a digital service that would exceed customer expectations," says Humphrey Kadaner, President of hmv Canada. "Thanks to the extensive testing and consumer feedback we've received to date, we are confident that is a digital offering that will impress consumers and, ultimately, bring them closer to the music they love."

Upon launch, is the only Canadian digital music store to accept Interac(R) debit cards as a form of online payment. This will simplify purchasing for hmv's core young shoppers, many of whom are too young to qualify for a credit card. Given the high rate of Interac(R) debit card ownership and usage in Canada, including amongst younger consumers, this new feature is expected to be well-received and frequently used by consumers. Other forms of payment currently accepted at, include: VISA(R), MasterCard(R), American Express(R) and PayPal(R).

Music How You Want It

Customer feedback received during's beta model trial period has been encouraging, with 95 per cent of visitors surveyed stating that the online retail site has the music they want in-stock, and 98 per cent noting that they are more than impressed with the selection of new releases. A resounding majority (98 per cent) responded that the MP3 DRM-Free format is a strongly appreciated special feature to the site(1).

The introduction of has also been widely received by hmv's music industry partners. "At Universal Music, we are extremely enthusiastic about the launch of, as we feel that it will be an ideal platform for our artists to showcase their work," says Randy Lennox, President & CEO of Universal Music Canada. "We look forward to moving further into the digital world with hmv."

hmv's Growing Digital Presence is one of two digital brand extensions launched by hmv Canada in the past month. The first was the introduction of purehmv (, a new customer rewards program that enables members to collect and redeem points earned on purchases made at hmv stores or for exclusive money can't buy rewards.

hmv's brand also continues to grow through the modernization of its store locations (with a focus on the expansion of the technology and book categories) and the upcoming introduction of an apparel and fashion accessories line due out Summer 2010.

pure Incentive

As part of the launch plans, hmv will offer purehmv members the opportunity to earn three times the pure points with any purchase made on from July 5th through to July 31st, 2010. Complete details are listed at and

About hmv Canada

With over 80 years of music retailing history and 380 plus stores worldwide, hmv is the world's premier retailer of music, DVDs/Blu-ray movies, videogames, books and more. Since 1988, hmv Canada has grown from a small retail music chain to become one of Canada's entertainment market leaders with over 125 stores from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

hmv is part of the HMV Groups Plc., which also operates the Fopp music and entertainment chain in the UK, Waterstone's bookstores in the UK and Ireland and hmv stores in Canada, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. For more information on hmv Canada, please visit


    (1) customer survey (Nov. 2009-Jan. 2010), total survey
        participants 628.

SOURCE hmv Canada

For further information: For further information: on or to schedule an interview with an hmv Canada spokesperson, please contact: elevator communications inc.,, 416.363.6444, Katherine Heydon x 230,; Jessica Hanick x 231,

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