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Apple discontinues Lala

There’s been plenty of rumors circulating online about the future of Lala, an online music service, since Apple acquired the site in December.

Well, these rumors can be put to rest. Apple is shutting Lala down.

I received the following email from Lala just a short while ago:

Dear Leor G.,

The Lala service will be shut down on May 31st.

In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple’s iTunes Store. If you purchased and downloaded mp3 songs from Lala, those songs will continue to play as part of your local music library.

Remaining wallet balances and unredeemed gift cards will be converted to iTunes Store credit (or can be refunded upon request). Gift cards can be redeemed on Lala until May 31st.

Click here or visit Lala.com/support for more information, or to view Lala’s Terms of Service.

Thank you.

Lala

Apple has long been heralded as being at the forefront of digital music innovation. Closing down Lala is hardly innovative: It’s a sign that they’re running to the hills.

I discovered Lala in the fall of 2008 while listening to the recently-shuttered radio station, WOXY. After playing a new TV On The Radio tune, the DJ told listeners to head to Lala to stream the new TVOTR album, Dear Science, for free. So I did.

And I got hooked. Lala was a great sight to check out music, new and old. It allowed intrepid music fans to test the waters of bands they’ve never really taken the chance to listen to without suffering economic losses, aka purchasing the music without knowing the content. It, in effect, was truly innovative: Let struggling bands share their music to the world with a one-time play stream and let curious listeners devour obscure or fan-favorite tracks. And, hey, if it’s all a good match, listeners may buy the music.

So, how does Apple look when they shut down one of the best sources of discovering music online? Well, not very good. Some are musing that this is Apple’s way of making their foray into a music listening subscription service. But did they really need to cut out the competition to launch such a service?

While technology pundits try and figure out Apple’s next moves, I’ll be doing the one thing I know I won’t be able to do soon: Hunting down the oddest sounds on Lala and taking one last listen.

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3 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Kyle Brady #
    1

    I, more or less, called this in December when they were acquired: http://trueslant.com/kylebrady/2009/12/10/content-ownership-rights-become-murky/

    So, I’m betting it’s a move to make it Apple-central.

    –Kyle

  2. Michele Catalano #
    2

    My first reaction upon receiving that email was: Apple bought LaLa with the intention of shutting it down and forcing its users to use iTunes.

    Typical.

  3. johngrant #
    3

    I had the same thought Michele. I’m hoping against hope that Apple will be repackaging the LaLa utility as a new feature on iTunes – perhaps replacing the largely pointless iTunes radio. More likely though, is that LaLa is gone forever with Apple falling into the same paranoid trap as the record industry evildoers that nullified the Napster P2P model, completely missing the larger point that free access (even limited streaming access,) is the gateway to new paying customers.

    *tear* – I’ll miss you LaLa



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