Harvey Norman follows Apple in launching music cards

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Harvey Norman has partnered with Destra Music to create the ChannelGo.com.au music download website, and will introduce the country’s first retail-branded digital music gift cards, similar to those available for Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

The retailer will sell Channel Go music vouchers through its network of stores for $5, $10, $20 and $50, which act as credit cards for music purchases through the website.

The $5 entry-level card is less expensive than the comparable iTunes card, and has been designed to give Channel Go an advantage over the Apple’s music store in appealing to the youth market.

According to a Destra Music spokesperson, Harvey Norman’s Channel Go site is the most comprehensive digital music download service to be launched by an Australian electrical retailer to date.

Harvey Norman follows retailers including Strathfield and JB Hi-Fi in establishing an online legal digital music download service with Destra.

Strathfield signed with Destra in June 2004, but the retailer’s music service is no longer active and a link from the Strathfield website actually re-diverts customers to Harvey Norman’s new channelgo.com.au website.

The Channel Go website has been active for two weeks but was officially launched today, and gives users access to 1.5 million digital music tracks in Destra’s catalogue from record labels including Sony BMG, EMI and Warner.

Most tracks on the website are in the wma format, making them compatible with most non-Apple mp3 players.

“We are pleased to be in partnership with Destra Music to deliver our customers the most comprehensive and convenient digital music experience in Australia,” said Harvey Norman product and marketing manager – software and portable media, Rebecca McLaughlin.

“Harvey Norman customers can share and download music across the spectrum of online music stores, enabling them to shop for their favourite music at the best prices.”

Destra was launched in 2003 and was the first company in Australia to provide legal digital music downloads. The company claims to be Australia’s largest independent digital music provider, with no financial ties to record major commercial record companies or corporations.

“Digital music is about offering consumers real choice, from artists and music genres, as well as products and price,” said Destra CEO, Domenic Carosa, in a press release today.

“Destra is at the forefront of delivering on the promise of digital music. The partnership between Harvey Norman and Destra is a natural alliance, offering customers the ability to personalise all aspects of their music experience.”

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