The music retailer has expressed disbelief at HMV's u-turn on covermounts. It said it that Virgin Megastores had always opposed covermounts because they encourage consumer perception that music is free and are damaging to the industry as a whole.
Simon Douglas, managing director of Virgin Retail, said: "We're stunned that HMV has decided to take what appears to be a complete u-turn on their stance towards covermounts and particularly in this case, as only a week ago they were so vocal about the damage it will cause."
He added that it is not only retailers that suffer, but also the public in the long term by restricting choice on the high street.
Just over a week ago, HMV said that it was very disappointed with the Mail on Sunday deal because it "devalues music". On hearing speculation about the move, Simon Fox, HMV's chief executive, said it would be "absolutely nuts".
HMV explained its decision with the following statement: "HMV does not condone the use of covermounts as a primary channel for distributing music and film content, and we understand and acknowledge the issues that they raise. Clearly, we would have much preferred to have stocked the new Prince album, but his decision to effectively release it in this way means that this will, unfortunately, not be possible.
"Whether we like it or not, selling the Mail on Sunday next week will be the only way to make the Prince album available to our customers, which, ultimately, has to be our overriding concern."