HMV has launched a music download store that aims to take on Apple iTunes with 10 million songs and every UK Top 40 song for just 40p each. Typically, the new Mac and PC friendly download service will offer 320kbps encoded MP3 files that will sync with iTunes and Windows Media Player. Downloads at hmvdigital will be provided by 7digital, which HMV bought a 50 percent stake in September last year.

Apple currently charges on average 99p and 79p for popular chart hits, while digital singles, bundled with extra tracks and remixes, start from £1.49.

Chart albums from Lady GaGa, Florence + The Machine and Eliza Doolittle are available for £4.99 from hmvdigital, while those albums cost £8.99, £7.99 and £5.99 respectively on iTunes. However HMV is offering individual album tracks at 99p each, which is more inline with iTunes pricing.

Sarah Hughes, HMV's head of online and digital, told The Guardian hmvdigital is "a world class download store that reflects both HMV's music retailing heritage and our strategy to be a broad-based entertainment brand".

"With so many innovative and wonderful features, it offers a truly intuitive and engaging customer experience that I very much hope will lead to HMV becoming a bigger player in the burgeoning digital market," said Sarah Hughes.

According to analysts Forrester, digital downloads grew by an impressive 48 per cent in 2009. However, HMV clearly will have work to do to attract customers from Apple's iTunes Store. Currently music, including digital tracks, accounts for 22 pert cent of HMV sales, down significantly from 31 per cent in 2007.

HMV operates around 200 stores nationwide, equating to over 1million square feet of trading space, as well as a online store at, operated by HMV Guernsey. Both retail and online stores sell a mix of music, DVDs, computer games and related products.