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“Every little helps” whirrs on the Tesco mantra, which hasn’t really materialised into anything tangible to their MP3 downloads. There are no real surprises with Tesco Entertainment’s MP3 downloads site. It’s easy to use, but – perhaps inevitably given their company’s range of goods and general size - uninspired.
Let’s start on a high, though, as there are some features worth an extra mention. If you’re an avid Tesco shopper then purchasing MP3s through Tesco Entertainment will help you boost up your Clubcard points. Every £1 spent earns a point and you can even earn free points for particular purchases, primarily from the chart lists. Tesco Entertainment also offers a booking service for select concerts, which is a feature sorely lacking from other MP3 download sites. Tesco also offer a pretty savoury piece of download manager software which will help you to monitor your downloads and make sure they’re where you want them to be. Their inclusion of the album artwork is also a pleasant touch as it adds some colour to a potentially-bland list of tunes. Given that the Tesco Entertainment system uses the MP3 format you are also able to play their tracks on most media players and portable devices (though for some reason – we assume because they sell them – they seem keen to promote the use of iPods). Your tracks are also yours to keep; you can download them up to 4 times once you’ve made the initial purchase and even burn them onto CD to play on your car stereo or in a CD player without MP3 capabilities.
Why the very average score, then? Well Tesco Entertainment are elusive about how many tracks they actually have on record, even claiming that they won’t necessarily have the ones you want because there are so many tracks being released. True enough, though it hardly inspires confidence. They seem focused on new music, which is fine if that’s what you’re interested in, and dance tracks seem particularly prominent in their charts. Tesco Entertainment’s features are standard, even quite bare. Searching isn’t a particularly easy process, it’s a case of browsing through their charts and playlists or typing in the name of the band or song you’re looking for. There are no really meaningful features for sorting your searches that are particularly music-focused. They are, again, quite general (release date, relevance...where is the feature to sort by genre or place of origin?). The results of a search also aren’t very helpful, though they do allow you to refine them by price and genre, but it’s a little too late by that point and the refine options are very limited indeed. This all rings of a site which has Tesco in mind, rather than Tesco MUSIC at the forefront. Tesco isn’t the cheapest site out there, either. At £0.89 a track and a good number of albums available at £5.49 you’ll likely find something to please your wallet but the newer albums are frequently a lot more expensive. Mac users have been shunned, too; if you own a Mac you simply cannot download Tesco Entertainment MP3s. This seems somewhat insane.
Tesco entertainment is an ‘okay’ MP3 download site. It’s simple to use and handy for those collecting points with their Clubcard. However, its MP3 department needs more focus, it needs a site of its own with a dedicated staff who know what they’re doing and what the customer wants: providing high quality at a low price and with passion. There just aren’t enough of those “little” things that make all the difference.
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