Apple Buys Lala

Lala, the music streaming/backup service that’s also a reasonably priced mp3 store, has been purchased by Apple. Does this mean Apple may introduce some sort of streaming service in the future? On Lala, you can pay 10 cents per song to stream it as much as you want, or $.99-1.29 to own it outright. At any rate, if you buy from Lala now, you’re buying from Apple.

“Apple’s LaLa acquisition points to streaming iTunes music” [IntoMobile]

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  1. CompyPaq says:

    Was the sale final? I thought it was just rumors.

  2. Razor512 says:

    They may start a streaming service but knowing apple, they will find a way to jack the price up by a lot and trick apple fans into paying for it.

    Either that, or they are looking to buy up the competition and then kill it, kinda like how the car companies a long time ago bought the trolley car companies then shut them down so people were forced to buy cars instead of use the public transportation.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      Apple’s music prices are on par with the rest of the industry; they’re dictated more by the record labels than by Apple. I don’t know how much money Lala was making though – it’s possible that the 10 cent streaming cost is not sustainable.

      Apple is already pretty dominant in online music sales; I don’t think they need to buy up tiny competitors to maintain that. I think it’s more likely that Apple acquired Lala to get their technology.

      • fantomesq says:

        from: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/internet/0,39044908,62059827,00.htm

        The talks (between Apple and Lala) originated when Lala executives concluded their prospects for turning a profit in the short term were dim

        • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

          I had a feeling that $.10 price is too low. Of course if Apple raises it, people will assume it’s because they want to rip you off rather than because of simple economics – you have to sell the product for more than it costs you.

          Personally, I’d rather see Apple offer a service like Napster or ZunePass that allow unlimited access to unlimited music for as long as you pay the monthly fee.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      Yeah, because Apple is known for jacking up the price of music.

      CD: $17.99
      Original iTunes price for same: $9.99
      Record labels fought tooth and nail and finally won the right to RAISE the iTunes price to $12.99 for “popular” albums.

      Damn Apple, jacking up prices! if it weren’t for them, we would be able to buy digital music for the same low price as CDs!

  3. FatLynn says:

    So Lala will get a flashy redesign and the prices will double?

    • redwall_hp says:

      I highly doubt that the prices will double…

      Lala desperately needs a “flashy redesign” though. It looks horrible.

      • o-line says:

        It works. I think its functionality is fine.

      • tundey says:

        I think it looks alright. Besides, people probably don’t spend much time looking at the site. You login, start streaming and minimize.

      • admiral_stabbin says:

        I just started using LaLa in the past couple of weeks, and I really dig it. I actually liked the interface as it was very easy to use. I wonder if they’ll try to turn it into a SaaS version of iTunes?
        That would definitely change the UI quite a bit. That’s where I’m putting my bet…

  4. GMFish says:

    10 cents per song to stream it as much as you want

    How in the frick did they pay their bandwidth costs on that measly business model? Or was the real business model waiting to be bought out by Apple or someone else?

    • hypnotik_jello says:

      Like everything with an “unlimited” model, users subsidize heavy users. 100 users listening to the song 10 times subsidizes the 1 user listening 1000 times. It’s based on the assumption that that there will be way more casual listeners than heavy bandwidth hogs.

    • shepd says:

      Bandwidth is nowhere near as expensive as most ISPs lie about it being expensive*. Cogent will sell you a link for $4/mbit. That means you can buy, in one direction, almost 260 GB for $4 a month. Assuming they are streaming 4 minute long songs at 128 kbits AAC, that means you can stream over 86,000 songs a month for $4. Or you can stream just under 8 songs at once all the time for $4 a month.

      Easy money! The only way they lose money is if a customer listens to the same song more than about 10 hours a day. If you’re doing that, you’re insane. And if someone really does listen to the same sing 24 hours a day, they only risk losing a dime that month.

      * – In fact, the expensive part, for an ISP, other than support, is getting the bandwidth out the door to the customer. Most ISPs choose their distribution model poorly (cable, I’m looking at you) and therefore find that heavy users clog up the pipes. Heavy users not being torrent users, but rather the people that log on during peak hours. Of course, you can’t beat up on grandma for downloading/sending those idiotically sized pictures as attachments, so you go after torrents because it’s easy, even though most of them run 24×7 and therefore aren’t the issue at all. The vast majority of ISPs are charged either by 95th percentile or per megabit, both of which are EXTREMELY influenced by peak hour users (Your average family, not a “warez hound”). No ISP on the entire planet pays per GB, which would be the type of billing where a “warez hound” is a problem.

  5. Mecharine says:

    They’ll probably close it down and transfer a bare minimum of functionality to iTunes. As for pricing, I expect it to get jacked to high hell.

    • redwall_hp says:

      The real different feature Lala has is the streaming abilities. I don’t see why that couldn’t be integrated into iTunes.

      Or they could just leave it as-is, and remove the links to buy music on Amazon, and placing theirs more prominently. After all, money is money. I don’t think having a separate service is really Apple’s style though…

  6. DAK says:

    That’s a shame. I like Lala, but can’t stand Apple. Oh well.

    • PanCake BuTT says:

      Oh wow, I thought I was the only anti-Apple man around! Guess I was wrong! I’d rather build my own hackintosh, and I think you can put together your own mp3 player out of an ol’ Altoids tin & some parts from The Shack (-the touchFlo interface

      :()

      Hope I don’t get the ax for saying all this !

  7. He says:

    I used lala ages ago to trade some CDs and it was a great service for that. They still offer that service which to me seems much more useful.

    • crichton007 says:

      That used to be all they did but the music labels threatened trouble. They still offer the service but not on everything, like they used to. It is just a small subset of the music any more. That was what got me interested when they first started but…

  8. dolemite says:

    That kinda sucks. I just found out about Lala a few months ago, and was shocked at the reasonable pricing of the music. Guess we can expect huge price hikes now.

  9. crichton007 says:

    Actually most songs start at $0.89 for purchase and are $0.10 less if you want to convert a web only streaming song you bought to a downloadable version.

  10. o-line says:

    A really nice feature of Lala allows you to listen to a song all the way through for free one time. Lala has grown a lot in recent months, becoming the official source of music for Billboard and Google. Apple will probably ruin it.

  11. thegcore says:

    its extremely doubtful that prices will change, as the deal LaLa has with the record labels for streaming is exclusive to LaLa only. Apple has said they are really buying the company for their engineers, but I am sure this can be used as leverage by Apple to sway the labels. that info came from the NY times article about the purchase:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/05/technology/companies/05apple.html?_r=2

  12. tundey says:

    Just found out about Lala several months ago and have already rented/bought more music there than I did on iTunes. Lala was/is the first site that didn’t treat customers like thieves or little children. How dare Apple say I can only download my music x number of times? Or that I have to re-buy all the drm-locked tracks? Or in the case of Microsoft, that I can’t play my music because the licensing server was down?

    Imagine, being able to listen to an entire album free before deciding to buy. And if you rented a track, you got a discount when you finally do by the song.

  13. t0ph says:

    So Apple and Google are now back in business

  14. t0ph says:

    So Apple and Google are now back in business

  15. Tied To The Whippin' Post says:

    Apple hasn’t stated what it will do with its newly aquired real-estate; however, the prevailing opinion in most blogs and articles would seem that Apple bought LaLa not for the streaming, but rather for the personnel/engineers that are in the employ of LaLa. LaLa wraps its streams in Flash, and to date Apple has been lothe to take Flash into its ample bosom. It’s been an established fact that Apple rarely announces its plans for any entity it buys; it just does and everyone finds out about it after the fact. LaLa was in financial difficulty at the time of the purchase, so it may well be that LaLa will get to live a bit longer with this buy up. Only time will tell.

  16. zimmi88 says:

    Augh.. *insert curses here*

    I was fleeing to Lala to get away from Apple and iTunes Hell. Now Apple owns Lala. fml.

    Here’s to hoping Apple doesn’t kill off Lala to hold its grotesque power in the digital music market.

  17. soj4life says:

    this would open up a new market for apple, and it would be able to keep the itunes store still only for ipods.

    i used lala recently when looking thought some review site for music. it was okay, i do like that you can listen to an entire track. the control were kind of iffy though.

  18. Mario4272 says:

    Someone should start andother LALA type site called FALALA. (Can anyone guess what the “F..A” stands for :-)