What The Papers Say - Battle lines drawn by HMVand Virgin

Combative rhetoric bloomed in the budding digital download arena last week, as two music retail giants made their first foray into the market.

'HMV and Virgin to do digital battle in days,' hailed Silicon.com (31 August), while The Sun focused on the core issue, 'Downloadsamoney: two tribes go to war' (1 September). The problem for commentators appeared to be in distinguishing the 'unique' (Gennaro Castaldo - HMV, Daily Mirror, 2 September) qualities of both HMV and Virgin's 'similar digital download services' (vnunet.com, 2 September).

Both companies claimed a 'strong music heritage' (Richard Branson, netimperative.com, 1 September).

In addition, both offered access to million-plus catalogues via a monthly subscription, pay-as-you-go options and a host of other goodies, such as digital radio, live downloads and dedicated help for non-techies. 'Virgin and HMV raise stakes in race to corner download music market' (FT, 2 September).

Each fought more or less equally in the media arena, but the thorn in each side remained the market-leading iPod, still locked securely behind Apple's 'walled garden' (John Taylor - HMV, The Guardian, 2 September).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk.

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