Tesco is seeking a partner to launch an assault on the music download market later this year.
The grocer's plans came to light as electricals giant Dixons signed a deal with Napster to bring one of the world's most recognised digital download names to the UK.
Tesco's service will be available via its Web site. Tesco.com chief executive officer Laura Wade-Gery said: 'If you look at our history of how we do things, it's a reasonable bet that we will try and do it with someone who knows how to.'
Virgin Megastores and HMV both offer digital downloads via Peter Gabriel's OD2 business.
Napster's service will be available through PC World, Currys, Dixons and The Link by the end of summer. Napster also wants to introduce pre-pay cards at Dixons and other retailers. Napster president Brad Duea said: 'The deal with Dixons will enable many more people in the UK to experience Napster than if we went in on our own.'