Remember HMV’s listening posts? Back in the day, the British retailer’s display units were one of the key ways music fans could sample new albums before deciding whether to buy them on CD.

Now the idea is getting an appy update for 2012. HMV has launched a free iPhone app called HMV Listening Post, which offers similar preview features.

“Listen to music previews by taking a photo of a CD cover or searching for an artist. The hmv listening post recognises albums from a photo or search and enables you to listen to preview clips from the track listing,” explains its listing.

We’ve been playing with the app this morning: the samples are streams, but the app doesn’t tie into Apple’s iTunes store. Instead, a ‘Buy CD’ button takes you (via the Safari browser) to the mobile store.

So, to reiterate: take a photo of a CD cover, in order to buy the CD from a website. Hmm.

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  1. Well, they’re not going to link to iTunes, are they. iTunes are a competitor. HMV are a business. A terrible business, run badly, who really cocked this whole thing up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use some common sense in your analysis.

    In other news, Sainsbury’s iPhone app only lets you buy from Sainsbury’s, and doesn’t link to Tesco. Fail.

  2. Hi Gareth, thanks for your comment, although it’s a bit aggressive. I was making a factual statement in the post – it doesn’t link to the iTunes Store – rather than suggesting that it should.

    Sorry if this spoils the snark!

  3. I don’t see how that changes anything. There is no reason why it would tie into a competitor’s store. I mean, why would it? Seems like an odd thing to say, to me.

  4. Here’s my thinking. Apple famously expects iOS apps to tie into iTunes rather than rival stores. So when seeing that HMV had an iPhone app to scan and buy music, my first thought was ‘surely they’re not promoting sales on iTunes?’

    And they’re not. So that’s why I pointed that out in the text.

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