British supermarkets giant Tesco is getting busy in the download space.

The chain will launch Tesco Digital in May, initially offering 3.3 million music tracks. Half of those titles will be in the iPod-compatible MP3 format. Plans are to offer its entire catalog in the MP3 format by the end of the year.

Further down the line, the service will ramp-up its offering to include downloadable films, TV programs and games.

"The new Tesco Digital site is more than a music download portal - we wanted to create an exciting and easy-to-use entertainment shop that Tesco customers of all ages and technical ability can use and trust," comments Graham Harris, commercial director at Tesco, in a statement.

Variable pricing will apply to albums and single tracks.

In November 2004, Tesco became the first major British supermarket to enter the music download business, with a service offering more than 500,000 titles at a flat rate of £0.79 each ($1.46), and full albums at £7.99 ($14.81). That service, however, currently offers downloads only in the Windows Media format. The company launched Tesco.com in 2000.

Tesco, which is a member of the Entertainment Retail Association, accounted for 12.7% of U.K. record buyers' albums expenditure in 2006, according to labels body the BPI. ERA's recently-published statistical yearbook does not break out the performance of individual retailers.