Interesting move from HMV which this morning announced that it had taken a 50% share in online music start up 7Digital. In some ways this should be no surprise as over the past couple of years 7Digital has been establishing itself as a solid alternative to the likes of iTunes and Amazon, especially by offering tracks as MP3s without any DRM. It has also struck innovative deals with companies like Last FM, Spotify and Songbird.
It’ll be interesting to see how HMV works with the start up though. Paid Content speculates that the company won’t just be about music but use it as its sole supplier for what it says will be “all of its existing digital operations”. This means that HMV is also likely to use 7Digital to build a new e-books and audio books store for its Waterstones subsidiary, a new area for 7Digital, but an essential one for HMV given the growth of the eBook market and the success of rivals like Amazon and Coolerbooks.
HMV has dabbled in social media and downloads before. It not only has its own download service but in 2008 also debuted GetCloser.com, a social network that would let users share their entertainment libraries, sadly the site didn’t gain much of a following.