Friday, April 30, 2010

Lala Shutting Down May 31

Great gripes! Less than one week after I finally got around to posting a Lala playlist, Lala has announced they’re shutting down on May 31.

Apple bought Lala for $80 million back in Decmeber. Current users of the 4-year-old online music service will have their balances converted to credit for the iTunes store, which is sort of like having your In-N-Out Double Double morph into a half-eaten Big Mac.

Lala’s clean interface was the closest legal thing to having a record store listening booth at your fingertips. I’m a big fan of streaming before purchasing. Lala let you stream a full album once for free, then charged you about 10 cents per song if you wanted unlimited online listening rights. I’m sure that model gives the music industry pause because it keeps people from buying new releases on speculation.

Gil Scott-Heron’s latest is a perfect example. It’s a good album, worthy of acclaim and definitely worth hearing, but if I ever listen to it again, it probably won’t be for several years. There’s nothing wrong with such albums, but I don’t need them taking up disk space or cloud space, let alone physical space in my increasingly cramped home.

When Apple purchased Lala, some speculated the Cupertino brass were going to build their own subscription music service. If such a service worked anything like iTunes, though, I'm one Mac user who would go out of my way to avoid it.

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