Best Buy Digital Music Store is latest to take on iTunes

Have you heard the big news? Best Buy, RealNetworks and SanDisk have teamed up to launch a new digital music store, powered by Real's Rhapsody 4.0 - doing their part to save digital music everywhere from extinction.

To help kick things off, Puff DaddySean CombsSean Puffy CombsFuzzy WuzzyP. Diddy Diddy will be releasing an exclusive track from his new album for the launch, which is slated for October 15, 2006. Since you can't launch a digital music store without your own digital music player to play those freshly downloaded tracks on, the SanDisk Sansa e200R Rhapsody MP3 player (boy, that just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) is optimized to work "seamlessly" with the Best Buy Digital Music Store.

Before you go thinking all this glorious music is free, let me fill you in on the pricing. You get a free 2-month subscription to the music store when you buy a SanDisk Sansa, which will set you back $139 for the 2gig model and $249 for the 8gig model. The subscription is for unlimited tunes. The catch? If you don't sign up for a not-free subscription after 2 months, you won't be able to listen to those songs anymore. The basic subscription service will normally be priced at $14.99/month but you can also just "buy" individual tracks for 99 cents each, just like iTunes.

I don't know about you, but I prefer my digital music services and devices to have names I can pronounce and easy acronyms for when I'm feeling particularly lazy, so BBDMS + Rhapsody 4.0 + SDSe200RRMP3(p) = headache, whereas Apple + iTS + iPod = the true Best Buy.