Sainsbury’s has launched an MP3 music download service.

The grocer started offering the service within its entertainment microsite with a first track free promotion last week.

The promotion will be highlighted with in-store merchandising as well as emails to those registered to the grocer’s website.

The launch follows Sainsbury’s acquisition of online entertainment company Global Media Vault from MBL for £1m last October.

Sainsbury’s has embarked upon a drive into the growing online and digital entertainment market following the launch of the Sainsbury’s Entertainment website in November 2010.

The site offers a number offers single tracks as well as albums as well as an ‘As seen on TV’ section featuring songs that feature on films and TV programmes.

Sainsbury’s is due to launch a digital video streaming and download service in the fourth quarter of this year and is exploring options to capitalise on the trend towards e-books.

The project has been led by Sainsbury’s head of entertainment online Mark Bennett and online music manager Pete Selby.

Bennett, former managing director of Global Media Vault, told Retail Week: “We are focussing on making the service as easy as possible for the customers and they are able to download music tracks to their iTunes folder.

“We are focussing on getting our existing in-store entertainment customers online and downloading music for the first time.”

Bennett said the retailer’s game category is strengthening and it anticipates strong sales of the new Call of Duty game which went live for pre-order today. “We want to do the big titles bigger and be the first to market,” he said.

Tesco has been making a strong play for the online digital entertainment market following a tie-up with Blinkbox which allows customers who buy a movie on DVD to get a streaming version for free.