Apple Buys Up Music Streamer 'LaLa'

Dennis Faas's picture

It appears Apple has gone ahead with plans to buy the rather unique music streaming service, named "LaLa." Some say the purchase could lead to big changes and, hopefully, improvements to the company's own iTunes service.

LaLa has tested several different projects in the past, including CD swapping and radio, but in recent years has been known as a challenger to other popular music streamers like Pandora and (frustratingly, like those other streamers it's also unavailable internationally). LaLa allows site members to create playlists of their own uploaded music and to allow other users to listen to those playlists on the site. Think of it as a controlled file-sharing meeting room.

LaLa Purchase Could Lead to Web-Based iTunes

Beyond that, LaLa also allows users to upload all of their music to the site and to listen to that music anywhere. It's something like a web-based iTunes all its own, offering users the ability to buy new music without being pestered by ads (unlike Yahoo! Music).

LaLa says users have access to a total of seven million songs without charge -- however, if you want to hear a tune more than once, you have to pay a dime, and with that it's streaming-only access, meaning you won't be able to hear it while running at the gym or walking the dog.

Although its rules certainly play close to the foul line, LaLa is a completely legal service and a surprisingly fast and convenient one for mobile people.

LaLa Bound for iPhone, Too

Insiders aren't surprised by the deal; after all, both LaLa and Apple have been working closely together of late on a special web-based music streaming iPhone app. Although the app hasn't yet been approved or released to the Apple App Store for distribution, early reviews say it's as full-featured as the web-based service and equally fast. (Source:

Hopefuls expect that Apple's purchase of LaLa could eventually lead to a web-based and more accessible iTunes, perhaps even with a new billing system closer to LaLa's. Such measures could streamline the iTunes experience for Mac, PC, iPhone and iPod users, making downloading and integrating new songs easier than ever -- and since many iTunes purchases are, let's face it, impulse buys, this is good news for consumer and Apple alike.

Heck, the purchase could even lead to a lowering of iTunes prices -- after all, LaLa recently offered many of its MP3s for just $0.89 cents each. (Source:

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