Apple Reportedly in Talks to Buy Online Music Service Lala

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LalaApple 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.

Comments

Bryan Chaffin

I consider Bloomberg to be one of the top news organizations in the world these days, but I really have to wonder about this acquisition.  I wonder where the fit is.

dhp

I’ve been using iTunes for years, but I think lala.com is awesome. The 10 cent web only songs are a great alternative to subscription services. I have a laptop connected to the stereo, so the only thing I miss out on is portability, but I can always buy songs outright if I really like them. (The 10 cents are credited to the mp3 purchse.)

I’ve found most single songs to be priced at $.89 rather than $.99, and albums are significantly less than iTunes at $7.49. Maybe that’s not typical.

But this story leaves out a lot of what is cool about lala.com. First of all, you can listen to any song all the way through once before purchasing it. Also, Lala searches your iTunes library and matches your collection to songs it has, then adds those to your playable online collection. Even better, it allows you to upload the rest of your songs (that aren’t on lala) to listen to on the web.

No, I don’t work for lala, but I have actually found myself using it more than iTunes since I discovered it—even for listening to songs I already own.

Bryan Chaffin

Thanks for the perspective, dhp. I haven’t used Lala, but The Atomic Love Bombs have gotten a few sales from it. That’s about the extent of my experience. smile

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I saw “Let It Burn (Song for Anton Newcombe)” and read as “Song for Anon Newbies”. You just got a sale on iTunes. Trippy stuff.

Bryan Chaffin

Thanks Bosco. smile

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