HMV online music store now out of beta

Canada’s largest traditional retailer of music, HMV Canada has announced that its online music store, hmvdigital, is now officially launched after seven months in beta.

The company says it is now offering over five million songs in the MP3 format, the majority encoded at 320 kbps, and free of any copyright protection.

Digital Home visited the official site and found it consistent with the beta version we reviewed last November. The most notable changes were a significant increase in the number of tracks available and a new download manager that lets consumers synchronize downloaded songs to a their existing digital media player folder (i.e. your iTunes or Windows media player library).

Additionally, the download manager now supports all currently supported versions of Windows, up to and including Windows 7 (both 32bit and 64bit versions), as well as Mac OSX and Linux.

In addition to changes to the site, HMV appears to also have altered a lot of its pricing some of its pricing since last November. When it first appeared hmvdigital pricing was similar to what we found on iTunes Canada Canada’s number one online retailer and in some cases cheaper.

This time out, however, we found pricing at HMV to be generally the same price or higher than iTunes. For example, the latest album from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (encoded at 256kps) was priced at $13.99 versus $9.99 on iTunes. Songs from the album were $1.49 each versus $1.29 on iTunes. Eminem’s latest “Recovery” was $11.99 on iTunes and $13.99 on hmvdigital. Individual tracks were $1.29 from both vendors.

Comment below or discus in our HMV Canada launches MP3 Download store discussion thread.

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