Tesco today is launching an online music service which it hopes will rival Apple's iTunes music store and Napster in the UK.

The supermarket chain, will however not be competing on price, offering tracks at 79p per song, a price which has fast become an industry standard.

Tesco has launched the service with a collection of 500,000 tracks, which is more than Virgin, Mycokemusic.com, Wanadoo and Wippit, but less than iTunes with 700,000 and Napster with 1million

Interestingly Tesco has opted to encode all its tracks at 192kbps rather than the standard 128kbps making the music a superior sound quality to that of its competitors.

The service will use Windows Media Player as its platform meaning iPod users won't be able to benefit from the new launch.

Tesco is also planning on selling MP3 players via its online store. usic d