It's official: Apple shuts down Lala music service

It's official: Apple shuts down Lala music service

Summary: Two weeks ago, I asked "Has Apple killed off indie music service" Several commenters in the Talkback section scoffed at that idea. Today, Apple made it official. Lala will be shut down as of May 31, with subscribers given credits at the iTunes Store.


Two weeks ago, I asked "Has Apple killed off indie music service" Several commenters in the Talkback section scoffed at that idea.* Today, Apple made it official.

After a reader tipped me off this morning via e-mail, I logged on to Lala to see this message:

The members-only announcement reads:

You will be able to access and play all music in your Lala collection through May 31, 2010. Any mp3 songs purchased and downloaded from Lala will continue to play as part of your local music library. You can continue to purchase mp3 songs through May 31st using your wallet balance or other payment methods.

As of today, web songs, wallets, and gift cards are no longer available for purchase on Lala. Uploads have been discontinued, and we are not accepting new users for the service.

If you paid Lala 10 cents per song for web-streaming rights, that money will be refunded in the form of credit at the iTunes Store. Any prepaid funds will also be transferred to iTunes Store credits as well unless a subscriber specifically requests that the refund be made via a check. The latter option is available only if you send an e-mail to Lala support.

Apple has announced no plans to offer a similar music-streaming service of its own.

Update: On other websites, I see speculation, even optimism, that this is a harbinger of  Apple getting ready to roll out a similar service. I find that possibility unlikely. If Apple had plans to offer a similar service, they would surely be able to migrate existing customers' "web rights" to a new service. Instead, those customers will be given credit at the iTunes store (or a check, if they demand it).

  * Comments from the earlier post are illuminating in retrospect:

Long Live LALA

As long as I can listen to any song of my choice once and buy good-quality recordings for $0.10 a pop to stream at home and work I am okay. AFAIK none of these other services have such a consumer-centric model. Other than that just hoping it's not written in the user agreements that they can take my tunes or they don't start turning servers off or what not.

short answer to your sensationalist bs headline : no. …

well, last time i checked, was still there. why not change your headline to something more reasonable like "apple changes a feature of lala"? o wait, of course, no hits then. …

isn't it more reasonable to suspect that apple has plans with it? …

when has apple ever bought a company to take their tech off the market?

i am waiting.

nothing has been shut down

This is entirely speculative and a bit sensationalistic. is doing just fine and I think it's at least as likely to expect Apple to further develop it and fold it into the iTunes brand.

Update 2: Lala sent out a blast e-mail to subscribers overnight containing the same information shown here. "In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple's iTunes Store."

Topic: Apple

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  • Geez I hate it when big companies kill off small companies...

    It's so sad to see Lala go, although I'm not a Lala subscriber. :(
    Grayson Peddie
    • Right. Because we all know that Apple

      Called out the corporate marines and stormed Lala's offices, killing everyone in
      sight. Oh. Wait. You mean what really happened was that Apple offered to pay
      money to Lala and the owners agreed to sell? You mean it was voluntary? So
      do you find it sad when a small company commits suicide, or does your
      indoctrination run so deep that you reflexively regurgitate you "corporations are
      evil" talking points.
      • There's always an apology for Apple, isn't there?

        Gayson is talking about the fact that Apple
        decided not to roll the service into their own
        in some way. They bought Lala just to dissolve

        He didn't even allude to it being an aggressive
        and evil act. It's just a shame that such a
        unique service is no longer available. It's
        also fun to see a small start-up finding such

        So really, we didn't even need you to apologize
        for Apple in this instance. But thanks for the
        • What apology?

          They simply stated the facts, Doh!
          • Apple is Somehow Impervious to Criticism

            I am amazed at how Apple Fanboys and Fangirls are devoted to the death to such a Machavellian outfit like Apple.

            If Microsoft did something like this, they would be drawn and quartered.

            When is everyone going to wake up and realize the world that Steve Jobs is building is like "The Stepford Wives"? Everything is perfect, except you can only do as they say.

            I am on my last Apple products and looking for alternatives as we speak. First, Windows 7 to replace the little spinning beach ball on my desktop (done) now onto my phone and music collection.

            Glad I didn't buy any music from iTunes...
      • I'm sure you'd be singing the same tune...

        ...if one company simply bought out all the others
        and we literally had just one company for
        everything. You have to stop it somewhere or you
        end up with the same issues people fear with the
        government owning everything.
      • How about this then

        [i]Apple cracks down on its own engineers, and recently fired one for giving a glimpse of an early 3G iPad to [b]Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak[/b], who complained that Apple had been too harsh.[/i]

        So yeah, who knows, they may have sent in the corporate marines...
        • Wow...just image if they controled 90% of PC Market - Sheesh nt

      • mergers

        Mergers are bad for the worker and the economy. Remember in a capitalist society we are suppose to encourage competition. Mergers stifle competition. What they do do is make upper management rich while laying off workers
    • I agree

      Whether they want the technology for their own use or not seems mute... either way they've killed off one competitor. So who's next. I'm surprised they don't try a hostile takeover of Adobe.
    • itunes web service

      contrary to the usual fud by apple hater ed bot, apple didn't buy or even
      kill lala to take a (tiny) competitor off the market. according to sources
      that have at least some contacts (unless little ed here), apple is
      incorporating lala's technology in a new itunes version. though working
      with the lables over licensing issues may delay that longer than
      banned from zdnet again and again
      • Where did I say that?

        If you want to criticize me, at least have the professional courtesy to spell my name right AND quote me accurately. Here's what I wrote:

        "So why did Apple buy Lala? Apple has declined to comment despite repeated requests, so I can only speculate. It might have been because they wanted the developer talent, or because they wanted to slow down Lala's momentum and keep a competitor like Microsoft from buying the company."

        And the article you quote is a mishmash of "pure speculation" (their words, not mine) taken from another speculative story at Nothing in the story offers any evidence that Apple plans to incorporate any of Lala's technology into a web version of iTunes.
        Ed Bott
        • all things d

          ... have a very good track record of insight information, especially inside
          the music industry. so compared to your pure drivel of your usual anti-
          apple fud, they have sources:


          to back up your unfunded assumption, please name a former event in
          the history of apple where they bought a company to put it off the
          market. they always bought the ip and the talent to incorporate them in
          their future products. same thing here.
          banned from zdnet again and again
          • Sigh

            Did you actually read what I just quoted from my earlier post?

            ""So why did Apple buy Lala? Apple has declined to comment despite repeated requests, so I can only speculate. It might have been because they wanted the developer talent..."

            For the record, I think that's the most likely reason. It's why I listed it first.

            Meanwhile, Lala's customers are screwed, and the Allthingsd story you seem to feel is the oracle speculates it will be a long time before Apple introduces any kind of cloud-based service.
            Ed Bott
          • waiting

            .. for your example of a company apple bought to take if off the market.
            banned from zdnet again and again
          • They also SPECULATE...

            ...that they won't even incorporate a locker when and if they even meld some of Lala's tech into itunes. It's all speculation since Apple has made no official statement at all that I have found.

            I will say, as a Lala user, that either way, alot of people will just lose out as I haven't really found a good alternative to Lala, and itunes is completely out of the question for me, as I will NEVER own any hardware device that locks me into a single companies services, regardless of what company it is, and regardless of what you think Apple is doing, the bottom line is they want some of the Lala tech/developers, and all of it's customer base on itunes. More itunes customers "generally" means more ipods/phones, etc...
    • typical anti-apple fud

      please ed, stick to writing about why users should pay hundreds of
      dollares for the newest microsoft update and leave other topics to people
      who have at least some contacts or information.

      if you want to read a balanced post on the topic (from a microsoft
      watcher at cnet nonetheless), have a look here:
      banned from zdnet again and again
      • Thanks for the career advice

        But you do realize that every link you've posted is jsut someone else posting their opinions based on a single article from Allthingsd?

        And in the CNET link you post, the writer says "I can't confirm the story." Ahem.

        Meanwhile, in the original article from Peter Kafka, there's this quote:

        "I've been on the phone all day with music industry sources. None of them know of any specific plans Apple has to replace Lala at the end of May..."

        Gee. Kind of exactly what I said.

        PS: Your Shift key is broken.
        Ed Bott
        • I wonder

          Reading that article makes me wonder if Lala sold out (other than for the money) because they were possibly facing a heavy court battle with the music industry for the service they were providing. If Apple is indeed having issues over locker services, royalties, etc... then I'm going to assume (yea, i know what assume stands for :P) that Lala may have been looking at some form of lawsuit or court case as well and decided it wasn't worth it.
          • Lala had contracts with the record companies

            They were not in danger of being sued. However, those contracts also were reportedly not transferable, which means that Apple no longer has those rights.
            Ed Bott