HMV squares off with iTunes

MUSIC retailer HMV is going head-to-head with iTunes with the launch of a new download service today.

The 89-year-old British company, which acquired a 50 per cent stake in digital music specialists 7digital, will challenge its online rivals, including the American industry leader, Apple, with a catalogue of over 10 million songs.

Its new service is compatible with any mp3 player and automatically synchronises downloads with iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries. Users can also re-download past purchases if they are lost — something not currently permitted on iTunes.

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