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Tesco Digital secures Warner's DRM-free MP3 catalogue

Warner and Tesco have teamed up to offer DRM-free digital downloads. But this is no threat to the ubiquity of iTunes

Hot in my inbox this morning was a press release from Warner Music Group, announcing that Warner's music catalogue will be available in MP3 format from Tesco's music download store, Tesco Digital, which I wrote about back in April of this year.

While I'm completely certain no DRM-encrusted newcomer to the marketplace can compete with the likes of iTunes, DRM-free stores are far more likely to feel the sweet caress of Mother Success. And Tesco's enormous brand awareness won't hurt either.

Tesco will also be offering rare Warner tracks, remixes, interactive digital booklets and videos as part of the offering, although it's unclear what format the videos will be in.

Earlier this year, 7digital snagged Warner as a supplier of DRM-free music, Universal more recently, and if my expectations are fulfilled, Sony BMG in the coming weeks, too. But the UK's leading download store -- iTunes -- still has only EMI as a major label supporter in its DRM-free iTunes Plus Store.

As it stands at the moment, I don't see Tesco's store as a threat to iTunes or 7digital however, despite its brand awareness. Its site isn't as crystal clear to use as 7digital's, or as ubiquitous on the desktop as iTunes.

And it's not immediately obvious which songs are available in copy-protected, WMA format, which ones are in MP3, and what devices each are compatible with -- no good for the tech-fearing types most likely to see Tesco as the safest place to buy legal music downloads.

With Amazon set to launch its entirely DRM-free download store later this year, the MP3 marketplace is set to be hotter than ever. Can the likes of Tesco, 7digital, and iTunes survive? Let me know what you think below.