SanDisk is releasing new information about its new slotMusic initiative, which aims to distribute digital albums on its microSD memory cards in lieu of CDs.

Albums in the new format will be available this week, with a price of $15 each, and a host of artists from all major labels were announced as well (see below). But the bigger surprise is a new addition to the strategy -- a digital music player designed specifically for the format.

The Sansa slotMusic Player, which retails for only $20, is simply an microSD memory card reader with no internal memory or ability to synch with a computer to download songs. It simply lets users plug in their slotMusic card, or other microSD memory card, and play what's on it.

The device carries with it a number of accessories, not the least of which is the ability for artists to create their own, branded slotMusic Player that comes pre-loaded with the participating artist's album contained on an included 1 GB slotMusic card, and of course can also play music stored on any other slotMusic or microSD memory card as well. Artist-branded devices retail for $35, and are custom designed with the artist's name and image.

Optional accessories include a Sansa Card Wallet for carrying various slotMusic cards, and an armband for holding the player while running or other hands free activities.

Artists with music contained in the slotMusic format at launch include: ABBA, Chris Brown, Coldplay, Daughtry, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy buffet, Katy Perry, Keane, Kelly Clarkson, Kiss, Leona Lewis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, MIA, Nelly, New Kids On The Block, Ne-Yo, Nickelback, Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Rise Against, Robin Thicke, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Usher and Weezer.

Click here to read a previously posted news analysis about SanDisk's SlotMusic.