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Music Apple

Apple To Shut Down Lala On May 31 438

Posted by kdawson
from the so-much-for-competition dept.
dirk and a large number of other distressed readers let us know that Apple is shuttering Lala, the music service they bought last December, on May 31. "Apple will transfer any remaining money in a user's account to iTunes, and will credit users (via iTunes) for any web songs that were purchased. It's a real shame, as Lala was a much better music service, offering songs in straight MP3 format. Its web service was innovative and ahead of its time. And it was one of the few places that would let you listen to an entire song to sample it (after one complete listen, you then could only hear a 30-second sample)." Reader Dhandforth adds: "10-cent favorites will now cost 9.9x more. What's worse, a community of music fans (followers and followees) will disappear on May 31. Evil. Sigh."
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Apple To Shut Down Lala On May 31

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  • Steve jobs as borg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twillerror (536681) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:00PM (#32045298) Homepage Journal

    Can slashdot

    a) create a Steve job version of the Bill Gates borg icon.
    b) change the MS icon Ms instead of the Bill Gates borg icon.

    I just think it's time.

  • rhapsody (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:00PM (#32045302)

    use rhapsody - as much music as you like for $10 / month. Now works on iphone and ipod

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:00PM (#32045316)
    So if I have an account at lala already (they're not taking new accounts now), I can buy a bunch of web songs at 10 cents a piece, and in return I'll get full downloadable versions from iTunes next month?!? That's an absolute bargain! I'm off to go do some shopping.
  • Re:No duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:04PM (#32045366) Journal

    Well......

    I hear people objecting about media consolidation. Like how NBC Universal owns ~10 major cable channels. And now Comcast owns NBC Universal, so they can control what gets shown or not shown on broadcast (say goodbye to BSG or SG1 reruns on free tv). It appears we're witnessing the same thing in the web, with competitors gradually disappearing to leave behind a monopoly or duopoly.

    I will leave it up to you to decide if that's bad or good.

  • by catmistake (814204) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:11PM (#32045504) Journal

    Lala was a much better music service, offering songs in straight MP3 format.

    If the format is your sole criteria, then you have made a grave mistake. If you meant DRM-free, then you should have said that, but all of the formats Apple offers through iTunes are technically superior to mp3. And the DRM is not tied to the format, meaning, I use the formats Apple uses, but I don't use DRM. And my music library just sounds better than your mp3 library.

    The real reason it's bad that Lala is going away is that variety and competition is good, less variety and competition is not as good.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:17PM (#32045564) Journal

    Or maybe it's just that their business model didn't work.

    Bizarre that Apple would front cash money for a failing operation. It would probably have been a bit smarter to simply let them fall flat on their face instead of spending so much cash, right?

    Everyone's favorite companies are those that are giving free services and running at a loss, and then they complain when they turn to advertising, subscriptions, or just go belly up. iTunes is a sustainable business model, and Lala is not. Deal with it.

    What the hell are you talking about? On Lala, you could pay 10 cents per song to stream it as much as you want, or $.99-1.29 to own it outright. And that was not sustainable? They simply offered more options than Apple, they didn't give songs away. Where are you getting your information ... ?

  • Thanks Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:18PM (#32045586)

    The whole reason I was using Lala was because my computers (Linux) don't seem to work with iTunes.

    Replacing my purchased web songs with an iTunes credit that I can't use doesn't really help me out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:18PM (#32045598)

    So sad, I love LALA. Tuesdays were filled with random new albums. I'm guessing my next best option is to go with zune monthly pass. Nice job on pushing me towards your competition Apple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:26PM (#32045692)

    Buying and shutting down competitors is incredibly common, even if the competitor is losing money it can still make good business sense.
    You do it if they have some IP you want (a patent, for example), or if you're afraid they will set a poor legal precedent that will hurt you (Google buying Youtube), or if you just want their customer list.

    Lala's streaming part of their business model may have had problems with paying for streaming rights - internet radio stations have to pay for rights each time you stream something, and the rates are a lot higher if you get to request what it is that is being streamed, and the rates aren't fixed forever. So if you offer someone a fixed-cost unlimited option, eventually you may lose money on it, depending on user behavior and future licensing price increases. I haven't seen details on this particular service, but basically a monthly fee or ad-supported business model could probably live longer because you get ongoing revenue to go along with your ongoing cost.

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:27PM (#32045706)

    (Interview with Notorious Lawyer Jacques Vergès).
    'There Is No Such Thing as Absolute Evil'
    He has met Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Che Guevara. He defended 'Carlos the Jackal' and Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie. Jacques Vergès, 83, is probably the world's most notorious attorney. His latest client is Khieu Samphan, the former head of state of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, who is on trial for war crimes.

    SPIEGEL: Mr. Vergès, are you attracted to evil?

    Jacques Vergès: Nature is wild, unpredictable and senselessly gruesome. What distinguishes human beings from animals is the ability to speak on behalf of evil. Crime is a symbol of our freedom.

    SPIEGEL: That's a cynical worldview.

    Vergès: A realistic one.

    SPIEGEL: You have defended some of the worst mass murderers in recent history, and you have been called the "devil's advocate." Why do you feel so drawn to clients like Carlos and Klaus Barbie?

    Vergès: I believe that everyone, no matter what he may have done, has the right to a fair trial. The public is always quick to assign the label of "monster." But monsters do not exist, just as there is no such thing as absolute evil. My clients are human beings, people with two eyes, two hands, a gender and emotions. That's what makes them so sinister.

    SPIEGEL: What do you mean?

    Vergès: What was so shocking about Hitler the "monster" was that he loved his dog so much and kissed the hands of his secretaries -- as we know from the literature of the Third Reich and the film "Der Untergang" ("Downfall"). The interesting thing about my clients is discovering what brings them to do these horrific things. My ambition is to illuminate the path that led them to commit these acts. A good trial is like a Shakespeare play, a work of art.

    SPIEGEL: Are there any people whose defense you would not take on out of principle?

    Vergès: One of my principles is to have no principles. That's why I would not turn down anyone.

    SPIEGEL: Let's say, Adolf Hitler...

    Vergès: I would have defended Hitler. I would also accept Osama bin Laden as a client, even (US President) George W. Bush -- as long as he pleads guilty.

    SPIEGEL: You can't seriously be mentioning Hitler, Bin Laden and Bush, and their failings, in the same breath.

    Vergès: Every crime is unique, and so is every criminal. That alone makes such comparisons impossible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:28PM (#32045722)

    The best part of LaLa was the ability to listen to music once to decide if it was worth purchasing. Sure other places provide samples or a song or two, but having a centralized location to listen to the album being reviewed on pitchfork or anywhere else that included the LaLa link was a great feature. Perhaps Apple intends to still provide such a service to be used as direct advertising to Itunes. Not a bad strategy at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:43PM (#32045970)
    Music videos are DRM-free too now, apparently. Movies, however, still have DRM.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:03PM (#32046250) Homepage Journal

    Apple is preparing for Steve's departure. by consolidating their IP and becoming draconian in it's fenced garden. This is very simial to the last time steve started preparing to leave.

    I honestly don't see apple surviving long without him at the helm.

  • by harrytuttle777 (1720146) on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:06PM (#32046310)

    it is that people will never learn from history. During the good old days, the Apple II came out and revolutionized the industry. Their systems supported a a community of enthusiasts who build great software, and ushered in the revolution. Then they became arrogant. They developed the Macintosh. It was now my way or the high way. You could no longer build / buy expansion cards. People moved over to the IBM PC, which all though it was ugly, did not force you to be what apple wanted you to be.

    For a long while after this apple sucked. Mr. jobs was forced out. Then the competition became arrogant and bloated. Mr. Jobs came back, OSX was introduced, and Apple no longer sucked.

    Now I am happy to say the tide is once again changing. ITunes used to be a good music player. Now it is a combination Music player, Video play, video game player, shopping store, all wrapped in one file that take up 900 GB of space. Apple is forcing you to program the way they want you to program (witness flash). They are shutting down sites that are better at music then they are. Hence the cycle is complete. It is only a matter or time before someone new (or old comes back into the game).

    This cycle corresponds to the cyclical nature of world powers. Once upon a time. China, and Europe with all those kings, emporers, and endless wars sucked. The cool people left and came to the USA, or were kicked out and went to jail. The USA was so great, that we kicked everyones butt. Then we too became arrogant, and allowed to many lawyers into our country. Now China rocks, and Europe is cool. So it is all one big cycle.

    -Time to sell you stock in Apple.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:11PM (#32046366)

    I suspect Apple will simply incorporate those features into iTunes at some point. They have already moved to make iTunes available via the web. That said, I would be blind to not acknowledge that it's possible this was to prevent direct competition with Lala if/when iTunes adapts similar features.

    I am curious about the summary and the indication that MP3 format from Lala was somehow better than the AAC audio from iTunes though. Neither is encrypted, and the potential quality is much better with AAC. You would be hard pressed to find music devices that only support MP3 these days.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @02:05PM (#32047124)
    I still use the legendary iriver H320, it has 20G capacity and sounds greater than all the ipods in the market.

    And I love it when the ipod crowd looks at it with horror in their eyes, because, you know, it does not look as cool and hip as their ipods.
  • Re:Straight MP3? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Friday April 30, 2010 @02:25PM (#32047360) Homepage

    The Creative MuVo in my pocket comes to mind. Bought that 2 years ago, works great, it's cheap, has a decent mic for voice notes and a user-replacable battery... It even pops apart for use as a usb stick with it's own little connector built right in. It's a nice little piece of tech.

    Now I'm wondering why I now have to replace it by Apple fiat.

    Moreover, I wonder why you're so hard to bring people into technology you've chosen as right for *you*. People are well within reason to complain. As technology expands, it can open up *more* options while retaining compatibility with what's been established to work in the past. Apple uses technology to constrain options. That's the crux of it.

  • Re:Straight MP3? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Friday April 30, 2010 @02:27PM (#32047380) Homepage

    Still not a good reason to kill off MP3. It's still ubiquitous. It's what all *my* music is in. I want to listen to it on *my* stuff, see?

    Is that so unreasonable?

  • by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Friday April 30, 2010 @03:57PM (#32048552)

    They wanted DRM free from the start - it was a stated goal of Apple's that there be no DRM. Remember the "Rip, Mix, Burn" adverts? Their extension of that was to be able to buy music online as well as rip it from your CDs.

    However, they had no choice - the labels had the content and would not allow it to be sold without DRM, so they had to add it. They made it as weak as they could get away with, and even included the ability to burn your tracks to Audio CD, stripping off the DRM.

    In their later negotiations to remove DRM entirely, they reached a compromise with the labels that involved the introduction of tiered pricing for the removal of DRM.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Friday April 30, 2010 @04:01PM (#32048632)

    Um, Jobs was the first music industry figure to call for DRM-free music. Charging 30 cents is required to pay the labels. Do you think the labels would be fine letting you redownload a DRM track DRM-free? On the other hand, what motivation does Apple have to charge you to do so? They make very little money on their Music Store. The purpose of the store is to add value to the iPod (and there's little doubt that this has worked very well for them).

    My point? Just because Apple now sells DRM-free music doesn't mean Apple is anti-DRM.

    Not a single person said they were. They are anti-DRM with regards to music, though.

    http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ [apple.com]

    This was written before there were any truly above-board, major-label, DRM-free online music stores.

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