HMV Testing ‘Social’ Music Store On-Ramp

HMV (LSE: HMV) has launched the beta version of the supposed “social network” it hopes will encourage those who used to buy entertainment on pieces of plastic to hang around its site and buy online. “Get Closer“, in fact, sounds less a social network and more a showcase for personal preferences, centering on a Six Degrees-type method of visualising surprise connections between musicians and other celebs. The Guardian says HMV is paying bloggers to build those connections. More interestingly, there is a “digital shelf” to which users can upload data from their iTunes Library. The idea would seem to be, friends can browse your music collection and buy copies of your albums from It’s far from clear that HMV can wrest enough of the digital downloads market from existing competitors (ie. iTunes itself) that it can become a significant player – but then, it’s top priority is merely launching compelling enough reasons that consumers will help offset the losses it’s making on physical sales.