Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Erica Naone

What Will Happen To Lala's Music Plans

Apple’s acquisition may transform iTunes, or it could just be a way to take out a strong competitor.

  • December 11, 2009

I’ve been worrying about the fate of Lala ever since it was acquired by Apple last week. The speculation I’ve read seems split between thinking that Apple intends to embrace the company’s long-term vision, creating a powerful Web-based version of iTunes, and suggestions that Apple only bought the service to poke Googlein the eye.

I first discovered Lala months ago, thanks to a deal it struck with Google, which put the service at the top of music-related search results.

When you create an account and log in, you can listen to any song in full once for free. If you want to listen to it again, you can either buy a physical CD, which also grants you permission to stream the song online, download the mp3, or pay 10 cents to buy a “web song”. The web song lets you the stream the song as much as you want, from anywhere.

Web songs are exactly how I want to listen to music. I don’t listen while I’m walking or commuting, but I do listen while I’m at a computer, and I want a synced service that gives me access to my songs no matter where I am. I’m happy to pay for this, and 10 cents per song is a great example of micropayments at their best–each song feels cheap, and I find I want to buy a lot of them.

Since music formats do change, what I’d really like to do is buy the rights to a song for life and have a company store it for me. But it’s been hard to trust even established companies to make music available over an extended period of time. For example, when Microsoft’s MSN Music store died last year the company’s plans to stop running the licensing servers that authorized users to play the DRM-protected songs proved highly controversial.

For now, I’m left holding my breath over the fate of this excellent music service.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.