HMV set to launch social networking site

LONDON - Music retailer HMV is testing the first stage of a social networking site, called Get Closer, which will allow users to discover and share new music.

The site is currently being tested by a thousand users prior to a full launch on September 1, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Get Closer will allow users to import music and film files to create their own library. They will also be connected to other users with similar tastes to form "spider clouds" around the artists, genres or films that they have in common.

Simon Fox, HMV's chief executive, said that the site is more about developing connections, discovering and sharing new music than social networking in the traditional sense.

He said: "We will then match you up with similar people. It's all about connections and collections."

The site is part of HMV's strategy to broaden its appeal from traditional retailing and to capture a share of the growing online market.

Get Closer will be funded by advertising revenues as well as having a click-through button to HMV's online store.

The site will also make recommendations to members about what music they might like.

Next month Tesco is taking on Apple by launching an online shop for video and music downloads. Tesco Digital will offer 3.3m songs and by the end of the year it will be compatible with iPods and other MP3 players.

In February, Omnicom agency OMD UK won the search engine optimisation account for HMV. It has been tasked with promoting as one of the first options people see when searching the internet for music, films and other entertainment goods.

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