Tag Archive for ‘Lala’

Don’t Hold Your Breath ➝

Peter Kafka reporting on All Things Digital:

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, when it will shutter the streaming music company it bought last December.

I never really expected Apple to launch a streaming music service immediately following the demise of Lala. But, I still expect them to do so at some point. This is the type of service that Apple may decide to start building before they discuss deals with record labels. Especially now that they are in super lock-down following the iPhone prototype leak.

Lala Shutting Down on May 31 ➝

Lala has posted a brief message to their website announcing that the service will shut down on May 31. The site will no longer be accepting new users.

This has sparked a flurry of speculation that Apple will be launching their own music streaming service shortly after Lala’s demise. However, none of these rumors seem to be based on anything other than the fact that they own Lala and it is shutting down.

I personally believe that Apple will launch a music streaming service at some point in the future. But I find it likely that Apple is simply moving resources away from Lala to ramp up development of their own service, not to launch it.

Alex Brooks: ‘You’ve All Gone Lala’ ➝

Alex Brooks wrote a fantastic piece on World of Apple entitled “You’ve All Gone Lala.” The piece was about the shoddy reporting by various online publications who connected the appearance of 30-second song previews in Apple’s web based iTunes.

the apparent appearance of song previews in iTunes Preview and the existence of Lala in Apple’s back pocket means that apparently the two are related.

Here’s why that is complete misinformation:

  • Apple has had 30-second previews in the iTunes Store since its inception. As of iTunes 9 the iTunes Store has been built in HTML and rendered using Webkit, the same rendering engine which Safari uses. Surely wouldn’t be difficult to use the same technology for previews on both platforms.
  • Lala’s streaming license has been said in the past to be non-transferrable, not a clear cut reason I’ll admit.
  • Apple has been making song previews available via iTunes Store RSS feeds for years.

Alex goes on to  list many of those who falsely connected Lala with the 30-second previews.

I let this story pass by because I didn’t believe Apple needed to own Lala in order to add 30-second previews to their web based iTunes preview pages. But, I basically didn’t report on it because I didn’t think it was significant, whether Apple owned Lala or not, this was a logical step forward and therefore would have happened.

I guess I’m just amazed that nearly all of the big technology news sites reported on it, and did a poor job at that.

Apple Purchases Lala Media ➝

Apple recently acquired Lala, a streaming music service that allows users to listen to their music libraries from the cloud.

Apple isn’t purchasing Lala for its licenses, as they are not transferable to any acquirer. Apple is likely after Lala’s engineers who could help them build some sort of music streaming feature for iTunes.

An unnamed source spoke with Reuters regarding iTunes streaming:

Apple recognizes that the model is going to evolve into a streaming one and this could probably propel iTunes to the next level.

Yukari Iwatani Kane of the Wall Street Journal also believes that Apple will transition to streaming music through iTunes.

The key vehicle for the move is Apple’s newly acquired music-streaming service La La Media Inc. for which Apple paid $85 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Where Apple’s iTunes requires users to download music onto a specific computer, Lala.com lets users buy and listen to music through a Web browser, meaning its customers can access purchases from anywhere, as long as they are connected to the Internet.

Apple is considering adopting that same model for songs sold on iTunes, a change that would give consumers more ways to access and manage their iTunes purchases—and wouldn’t require them to download Apple’s software or their purchases.

I expect Apple to continue requiring users download iTunes in order to purchase and stream music, but it’s obvious that media consumption is changing and Apple isn’t one to sit back while others innovate.

Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research (reported by AppleInsider) ties this acquisition to Apple’s $1 billion server farm in North Carolina. Apple’s use for such a server farm has been a topic of discussion since we learned of it this summer, but I would expect Apple wouldn’t have known about the acquisition of Lala until after the server farm deal had been done. My guess is that Apple had already planned to build a streaming feature into iTunes and decided to purchase some talent that had already built a similar service.

The future of Lala is unclear. But, I’m curious about what will happen to users who purchased the right to stream songs for 10 cents a piece. My guess is that those songs won’t be available for too much longer.

Update 12/10/09: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google was in serious discussions to acquire Lala before Apple eventually purchased the company for $85 million. They also say that Google is buying music services to compete with Apple’s iTunes business.

Apple and Google’s relationship is getting weirder and weirder.