Britain’s Entertainment Retailers Assn. has called on Apple's iTunes to “act responsibly” after the digital music giant yanked HMV’s iOS app from its app ecosystem.

In what appears to be a purely protectionist move, British-based retail chain HMV's new app was removed with Apple suggesting the software was “violating App Store guidelines.” Apple had previously approved the feature.

Now ERA, which counts HMV among its members, has weighed in. "The dispute between HMV and iTunes highlights, we believe, serious issues of competition in the digital entertainment world,” ERA explains in a statement.

According to the Guardian, Apple has "temporarily removed" HMV’s app from the App Store. The computer giant had ordered HMV to remove the feature by 6pm on Oct. 21. HMV didn’t -- or wasn’t able to -- comply.

"iTunes is by far the dominant player in music downloads with a marketshare estimated to be over 70%, but just as importantly it also maintains an iron grip on access to the hugely powerful iPhone/iPad platform, which effectively hinders competitors from reaching millions of consumers and stands in the way of innovation,” ERA continues.

"With market power comes responsibility and we urge iTunes to act responsibly and allow the development of a free market in music online."

HMV’s app allowed customers to browse and download music direct to their iTunes library.

HMV came back from the brink earlier this year when retail restructuring specialist Hilco swooped in with a rescue package. The retailer had been saddled with debt, and was clearly suffering from a shrinking market for physical entertainment product.

Ironically, HMV had come under fire from observers for racking iTunes gift cards in its stores -- a small-change sale which essentially sent its customers to a rival channel.

The HMV app remains available on iOS rival Android.

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