LaLa: Over and Out!

Today, subscribers to the 5-year old service LaLa received this email message:

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.

I have been writing about LaLa since it’s Used CD trading times and through their dramatic change in business model. Like many other LaLa users, I have been wondering exactly how would Apple incorporate the LaLa service (basically streaming music from the “cloud” for free once and unlimited if you pay 10 cents per track) into their iTunes strategy since they purchased the Palo Alto-based company back in December.

The news today gives SOME idea of what those plans may be. Here are my two cents:

  • Not unexpected to see LaLa (as a separate entity) shutting down. No surprises there.
  • What is a surprise is that they are crediting users for all web song purchases. I assumed that there would be “something” ported over into whatever incarnation there may be on iTunes in connection with any account you may have there, to extend the experience. Now, although I am not losing money on this change, I have wasted time… If I wanted to purchase the same songs for streaming (assuming that they are offered in streaming format and that they are offered at the same price through iTunes or whatever Apple’s new service ends up being called), I am going to have to scroll through my 9,000+ library to figure out which ones are web songs that I care about and which are downloads (that I keep anyway).

Why did they do things this way? Perhaps developing the technology to bring “in-house” the collections of current LaLa wasn’t worth it, in Apple’s mind (with Apple’s new role as the IBM of the 21st Century, it could be the case). Porting over data from a “handful” of fanatic users like myself wasn’t worth their time… and they may be right, sadly.

While I don’t feel “betrayed” as I did when Last.FM sold out to its parent company CBS, I do have VERY mixed feelings about this move. I know Apple will come up with something in June and that something will likely have its home in the “cloud” as FastCompany accurately assesses: think “web-based iTunes or something”.

I keep thinking: the only way you can REALLY control the way things work for you is you do them yourself. But then, you will find yourself spending time and energy developing/hosting solutions to make things work your way. Is it worth it? Probably no. Does it dissapoint me when I things change on me overnight? Still does… anyway… End of rant! Happy Friday to you all!

LaLa Setting Out to Change the World of Music… Again Founders
Originally uploaded by Manny Hernandez

Today I had the chance to meet three of the founders of today, while I came by for a usability session at their office in downtown Palo Alto.

They are as smart as they are fun to be around and they CERTAINLY have a deep love for music! I cannot tell you HOW MANY CDs I saw at the HQ! šŸ˜€

I can’t share much more for now, but I will tell you one thing: these guys are here to change the world of music… And I believe they will succeed at it. More to come later.

RIAA's Latest (Crazy) Move

This time, I have to say I am very surprised…

“… in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.”

You can read the rest of the article and be amazed too.

Am I the only one who thinks this is outright crazy?