HMV will price its music according to the status of the artist concerned. New artists will be priced at about 39p per song, while more ‘premium artists’ will go for more, nearer the standard 79p. This is a pricing model that will be, ahem, music to the labels ears. For some time, the labels have been pressing Apple to break its one-price-fits-all model and are upping that pressure during current negotiations on licence renewals. Whether HMV and its limited offering – it’s Windows Media formatted through MusicNet – will provide an additional lever for the labels against Apple is doubtful given Apple’s iTune/iPod dominance. Additionally, the imminent launch of an iTunes mobile phone threatens to overshadow the launch of both HMV and Virgin Digital over the next few days.

Indeed, the one-two of Sony’s PSP and Apple’s iTunes phone could mean both retailers will have to dig much deeper into their marketing pockets in order to make a decent-size impact outside of instore promotions.

The Times’ take on the launch.