RIM’s tablet to include iTunes rival music service

BlackBerry PlaybookBlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has announced that its forthcoming 7-inch touchscreen PlayBook tablet will include a digital music store intended to compete with Apple’s iTunes. The pre-loaded music service is the result of a partnership with British company 7Digital.

The 7Digital music store will offer 320kbps MP3s and access to about 13 million songs from labels including Warner, Universal, EMI, and Sony. The store will operate on a pay-per-track and individual album pricing model similar to iTunes.

The inclusion of 7Digital is a clear attempt to challenge Apple’s iTunes, which comes pre-loaded on its iPad tablet computer. ITunes currently retains about a 66 percent share of the digital music market.

“The 7digital Music Store is a perfect complement to the high-performance BlackBerry PlayBook, providing users with fast searches and downloads, and a slick interface that makes it very easy to discover, purchase and enjoy music,” said Alistair Mitchell, vice president, BBM platform and integrated services. “We are thrilled to be working with 7digital to provide BlackBerry PlayBook users with access to an amazing catalog of 13 million tracks.”

BlackBerry will preview the PlayBook equipped with 7Digital during this month’s South By Southwest conference and music festival held in Austin, Texas.

RIM is expected to launch the PlayBook in the coming months, but has yet to announce a price for the tablet.