HMV Australia and ninemsn today (Oct. 29) launched a co-branded download store that will deliver both digital and physical music products.

HMV Australia and ninemsn today (Oct. 29) launched a co-branded download store that will deliver both digital and physical music products.

The nineMSN HMV store, which is powered by U.K.-based digital distributor OD2, offers 350,000 titles licensed from the four major labels and roughly 100 independents. Additional unspecified online music-related products and services will be offered over the next few months, both companies say.

Ninemsn is owned by Microsoft and Australian media mogul Kerry Packer. Through the new partnership, HMV will be cross-promoted through the affiliated Web sites of Packer's vast Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. group of magazine and television businesses.

HMV Australia managing director Stuart Fraser says the partnership "opens up huge opportunities for us and complements our bricks and mortar business."

The retailer's online distribution was previously handled through Destra Corp., the digital rights management company that powers download stores for music retail chains Sanity Entertainment, JB Hi-Fi, ChaosMusic and Leading Edge. Ninemsn bowed its legitimate download store in April.

No official figures exist on the Australian download market, but uptake on legitimate downloads is said to be slow. The Australian Record Industry Assn. recently announced plans to launch a download chart by the end of the year.

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