HMV app offers direct downloads on Android and Apple

HMV has launched a new digital app for buying music, alongside a new look for its online and high street presence.

Available for free on Android and iOS from today, the HMV app will be the first time that users have been able to download music directly to their iOS device using an app other than iTunes.

The app is part of a new digital relaunch for HMV. The high-street music behemoth narrowly avoided going out of business at the start of the year, but thanks to a successful acquisition by Hilco, some 140 stores are still open for business.

This includes the recently reopened Oxford Street flagship, complete with a new retro look (below).

Now HMV is relaunching with a new focus on its digital business, no surprise given that some 30% of music bought last year was downloaded. The first stage is the new HMV app.

The app will enable users to download music from HMV's extensive catalogue straight to their smartphone or tablet's native music player, as well as to iTunes and Windows Media Player on PC and Mac. Windows Phone and Blackberry users can access the service via a browser-based app.From within the app, consumers can pre-order future releases, find out what songs are playing around them via Soundhound or purchase an album via image search.

Album search allows users to take a picture of said album, listen to 30-second previews and then continue to buy and download it.

A new website is due to be launched next week complete with the new digital music store. This will be compatible with all platforms including Mac OS X, Windows PC and BlackBerry 10 and Windows phones.

James Coughlan, HMV digital MD, said: "I'm excited to say that we're putting music ownership back into focus with the launch of our new digital music products."

"An exciting vision is unfolding and I look forward to announcing further developments regarding our plans for 2014 in the coming weeks – this is just the beginning"

HMV went into administration in January, but a £50 million buy-out from restructuring firm Hilco helped save much of the company and around 2,500 jobs.

by Max Langridge

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Max was a staff writer on What Hi-Fi? and subsequently spent a good few years writing news and features for various technology and hi-fi publications, before jumping on a plane in search of a more fruitful life in Australia. Now based in Byron Bay, he writes about tech, health, fitness and style.