Apple about to acquire Lala. Are iTunes music streams coming?

Apple about to acquire Lala. Are iTunes music streams coming?

Summary: Apple is reportedly in the final stages of acquiring Lala, a digital music site. Are streaming iTunes on the way?

TOPICS: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

Apple is in the final stages of cutting a deal to acquire streaming music site, according to a report by CNET's Greg Sandoval. There are few details about the reported acquisition but sources told Sandoval that the terms have already been hammered out and the only thing left to do is sign a final agreement.  (Techmeme)

It would mark the third acquisition of a digital music site in recent months, with MySpace acquiring iLike in August and Imeem last month.

It's unclear what Apple would do with a service like Lala - and neither company is even confirming the deal yet - but, given Apple's presence in the digital music space and the rise of Web-connected mobile device such as the iPhone, it seems that Apple's interest in Lala would be to bring an online streaming music experience to iTunes users.

Lala, which was once a CD-swapping service, has changed its business model a couple of times in recent years. Today, Lala allows users to listen to a full version of a song as a preview (as opposed to Apple's 30-second preview clip) and then pay 10 cents for it for unlimited playback of the song over the Internet. If users want to actually purchase a DRM-free version of the song, it can be downloaded and stored on a hard drive, as well as a portable device such as the iPod or Zune, for an additional 79 cents. (That's 89 cents in total when you add in the initial 10 cents.)

I would guess that Apple would incorporate the technology into iTunes, maybe offering a free full-track preview and a low-cost version that allows for online streaming only. Eventually, Apple would want to sell you that full-priced track for playback on an iPod or iPhone.

There's also something to be said about storing music libraries in the cloud. Currently, music tracks purchased through iTunes are downloaded and stored on the purchaser's physical hard drive. But hard drives can fail and when that happens, huge investments in music purchases can disappear in a moment. This has happened to me before and it cost me a couple of hundred bucks to have my music library restored. Even then, some tracks couldn't be recovered and the metadata on many that were recovered was lost forever.

Of course, I'm just speculating about Apple might do with the Lala service. But, knowing Apple and its history, I imagine that the integrating of Lala into iTunes will bring some sort cool new value add to an already popular service.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

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  • Zune says:

    been there, done that-- without the complicated pricing system. Pay $15/month for 3 users to have access online at, downloaded to their PC, synced to their Zune, or even burned to a cd. Keep 10 tracks forever just in case you're loony enough to cancel your subscription!
    • And don't forget

      Zune also allows you to re-download any music you've purchased through them (with money or song credits) forever. Unlike in iTunes, if for some reason you lose your music and don't have backups you can get them from Zune.
      • The Zune service sure must suck if nobody's buying it.

        Never been a fan of subscription of music.
        I want to OWN the music I care about, physically stored on the HD without DRM. Radio/streaming is ok, but that's usually about entertainment for the moment, not music I care about.

        Wanna bet that whatever Apple choose to do, they'll win as usual because, unlike Microsoft and others, they understand consumers?
        • Win as usual?

 in buying the competition?

          It will be interesting to see what they do to lala... limit it to iTune/iPhone/iPod users? Raise the prices? or even just shut it down.

          If you can't beat 'em... buy 'em.
          • Confusing Apple with MS?

            Apple don't buy a company only to shut them down out of fear? This is not Microsoft.
          • No. Its the New Apple

            And Apple is nothing if not Apple-centric.

            I agree, this'll be iPhone/iPod/iTunes only.
            Buy doing this, you eliminate "the competition", shut down an avenue of music for non Apple users as an enticemnet to buy one of the above mentioned products.

            From Apple, of course.
            John Zern
        • So don't subscribe to Zune

          If you're not a fan of Subscriptions. It's certainly your choice.

          FYI, with the Zune service you get to keep 10 DRM-free songs every month. So if you buy at least 10 songs a month the subscription end up being $5.

          At $15/mo the Zune sub used to not be worth it for me, but after they added the 10 zongs-to-keep I bought in. By using Channels, connecting with other users on the Zune social, and using the Mixview and Smart DJ features I've actually discovered a bunch of artists I wouldn't have found any other way.

          But if you're a rabid Apple fan none of this will matter to you. Just stick to your beloved iTunes. I'll keep my open mind, and enjoy my music while you stick to your guns.
  • Ugh...

    As someone who loves LaLa and despises iTunes, all I can say is "NOOOOOOO~!" *sigh*
  • Say it ain't so, Joe

    It is hard to fathom how badly Apple will destroy which continues to be the great site for CD swapping. Guess it just goes to prove that the sole purpose of the owners of was never to facilitate CD swapping, but only to make themselves a fortune. Guess you can't argue with them cashing in - but if you think about it analytically, all this cashing in by selling to huge conglomerates has created the business atmosphere that helped produce our current Great Recession. "In greed we trust" -- the new national motto.
  • I am sure apple is going to integrate this into Mobile Me

    Mobile Me would be incorporating this service calling it
    Music on the Cloud as Apple would say your songs on your
    drive could be deleted
  • Who Cares!

    This type stuff is boring!
    Ballmer uses 45ppm records and so do I!

    • Parts Per Million???

      [i]Ballmer uses 45ppm records[/i]

      Hallowed are the Ori
      • It's a rounding error

        Ballmer uses only 78ppm records
  • RE: Apple about to acquire Lala. Are iTunes music streams coming?

    cwrhwy,good post!