HMV has unveiled plans to become the U.K.'s first major music retailer with an online subscription service, Billboard Bulletin reports. The company will offer what it claims is the largest official ca

HMV has unveiled plans to become the U.K.'s first major music retailer with an online subscription service, Billboard Bulletin reports. The company will offer what it claims is the largest official catalog of digital music ever in the territory. The project, a partnership with digital distributor On Demand Distribution (OD2), is due to go live next month, offering access to nearly 100,000 tracks. Content from EMI, Warner Music, BMG, and independent labels such as Telstar, Mushroom, and V2 will be available at launch.

An array of artists and music genres will be featured, including, for the first time, almost the entire Elvis Presley catalog of 990 songs. Also available will be more than 260 Genesis tracks, the complete repertoire of Craig David and Westlife, and content from Kylie Minogue, Coldplay, Dido, David Bowie, and the Chemical Brothers. "We're actually looking at it very much as an experiment," HMV e-commerce director Stuart Rowe tells Bulletin. "We haven't set any benchmarks or hurdles that we have to achieve; [we're using the project] as a piece of research and development."

For a monthly subscription fee of £ 4.99 ($7.60), the service at hmv.co.uk will offer various usage options. A maximum of 50 tracks can be downloaded each month; alternatively, subscribers can choose to either stream up to 500 tracks or burn approximately five tracks to CD.

There is also an option that is a mix of all three. Single tracks can also be purchased as downloads or burned onto CDs as part of the subscription.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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