Apple is reportedly in talks to buy online music service Lala, according to Bloomberg. The financial news service cited two unidentified sources "familiar with the matter," and the terms of the deal are not known.
Lala is, in some respects, a would-be competitor to iTunes. The service offers some eight million songs from major labels, indie labels, and from services like TuneCore that represent the growing ranks of unsigned bands self releasing music. For instance, and for full disclosure's sake, this reporter's band, The Atomic Love Bombs, are on Lala.
While the service's main prices are comparable to industry leader iTunes - US$.99 per single download, with albums at discounted rates, Lala's efforts to differentiate itself include offering songs for Web-listen only purchase for $.10. That allows the user to listen to the song whenever they wish, but only through Lala.
It remains to be seen what Apple would want out of Lala. iTunes is already the giant industry leader, and it would seemingly be trivial for Apple, with all its resources, to copy, borrow, or otherwise incorporate features from any competing service they felt desirable.
From streaming, to subscriptions, to Web-only listens, Apple is positioned better than all but a handful of companies to develop any and all services and features in-house. While Apple's track record is bring under its control key technologies used in the company's ecosystem of products, this has involved a mix of buying outside companies and talent and inventing or re-inventing the wheel in-house as needed.
Which makes this purchase, should it turn out to be an accurate report, interesting in terms of where Apple would take the technologies it acquired with Lala.