HP takes on iTunes with MusicStation store

HP is squaring up to Apple and its iTunes music store with a plan to offer an unlimited music service in Europe.

The service, called MusicStation Desktop, will be available free for two weeks to customers buying the company’s Pavilion, Compaq Presario and HP Envy models. After that, it will cost €9.99 per month.

Users don’t have to be online, as they can download tracks for offline playback. They also get their favourite 10 tracks each month to treasure forever in a DRM-free MP3 file format.

HP has signed up a bunch of record labels to support the service, including Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner.

It’s being provided through Omnifone, a company which specializes in cloud-based unlimited music services – and which must be delighted HP didn’t go for the better-known Spotify instead.

The labels see it as a way to counter piracy: “Universal is working closely with PC manufacturers to support the introduction of legitimate music access across mainstream connected consumer electronics,” said Rob Wells, a senior VP at Universal.

“With its huge scale and user base, HP’s 10 country introduction of Omnifone’s MusicStation unlimited music service for the PC will help encourage legitimate access to digital music content from Universal Music and all the other major and independent labels.”

It’ll be available next week.