HMV Splits Digital, Physical Retail Across Two Sites

Here’s the first outcome of HMV’s part-acquisition of 7digital —, a new online store for digital music.

Curiously, the upshot is the separation of HMV’s digital music retail from the existing site, where HMV (LSE: HMV) used to sell digital music and where it will continue to sell other digital content and mail-order entertainment.

The site was built by 7digital, which HMV bought half of for £7.7 million last year, but is wholly owned by HMV.

Despite 7digital’s strong position in facilitating music downloads for a range of stores, it so far only retails music and audiobooks – hence, hmvdigital is solely a digital music store, other media is left back over at

Why has HMV gone for the split? Spokesperson Gennaro Castaldo tells paidContent:UK: “We wanted to give it a standalone URL at hmvdigital rather than have it built into for a number of reasons…

To support the idea of hmvdigital as a brand in its own right; to remove some of the pressure on having to host a digital store within its own overall offer; and to create a separate platform that we can keep building on through 7digital as and when we choose to – this would be more problematic if we wanted to upgrade the platform within”

Previously,’s digital music downloads were powered by MediaNet/MusicNet.

This effectively means the first outcome of the part-acquisition is just the same kind of white label downloads store 7digital already builds for vendors likes

Reporting earnings in June, HMV said: “Opportunities to create real value in digital are scarce for all involved, not least because of widespread competition from the free illegal market.