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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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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:43AM (#32045004) Homepage

    ...I know people who did, and none of them are happy about this. I've herad nothing but good things about Lala, it's a shame that it will be going away :/

    • by Zerth (26112)

      I've only heard of them because Google had Lala integrated into search results.

      • by thepike (1781582)

        Me too. But I did use that fact sometimes when I was looking for a song I had heard on the radio or in a movie or something. I'm kind of mad that it'll be shut down. Granted, I didn't really buy any music from them, so I did nothing to stop it, but it was helpful.

      • >>>Google had Lala integrated into search results.

        I feel like sabotaging Apple. And costing them money. (Goes off to put Google/Lala on infinite loop.)

        Lala's the service that also powered billboard.com, so you could listen to the top songs on the chart. I wonder what they'll do now?

    • by beelsebob (529313)

      I don't get the summary. Do they honestly thing that 128k mp3s are better than the 256k AACs that iTunes offers? I get them moaning about the price increase, but that statement is rather weird.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Richard Steiner (1585)

        I personally have a dozen devices (many of them older) that'll play those 128k MP3 files as is, and NONE of them can process an AAC file.

        While the sound quality of the AAC file is miles better, 128k VBR MP3 is good enough for many portables, and I can certainly understand folks being grumpy about now having to perform a format conversion before being able to listen to their purchased music files...

        • by beelsebob (529313)

          I personally have a dozen devices (many of them older) that'll play those 128k MP3 files as is, and NONE of them can process an AAC file.

          Wow, you must have some *really* old devices, I've not seen a device that can't play mpeg 4 audio in the past 4-5 years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by sbeckstead (555647)
          Sounds like time to upgrade to me. It's consumers like you that hang on to outdated equipment that frustrate sales people everywhere trying to unload the new products and you keep the dinosaurs alive.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            Yes its horrible! we aren't buying the latest iCrap or filling landfills with working gear while we chase being the owner of the biggest ePeen! the horror! How UnAmerican! In case you didn't realize that was this thing called sarcasm. I have a 2 year old Sony CD/MP3 player with remote in my truck, and a Sandisk M260 in my pocket. Both play MP3, WMA, WAV (Sony adds ATRAC) but neither will play AAC.

            You will also be quite horrified to know that I don't own an iPod, or an iPhone, or anything electronic that sta

  • No duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:44AM (#32045012)

    Because anyone actually thought that Apple was going to keep running two competing music stores?

    • Re:No duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:04AM (#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.

      • Well......

        I hear people objecting about media consolidation.[...] so they can control what gets shown or not shown on broadcast

        Except the Internet is a totally different world.

        Old world distribution channels are limited by the number of venues, whether those are radio stations, TV channels, concert halls, or feet of shelf space on record stores. In the old world, artists would be shut out if radio stations wouldn't play them or if Wal-Mart and Barnes and Noble wouldn't put them on the shelves. Consolidation in the old world meant even fewer venues, and fewer venues meant less variety.

        iTunes sells every song it can get a license to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jgagnon (1663075)

      Makes you wonder why they purchased it in the first place...

      • by 0racle (667029)
        To make at least some of those users ITMS users.
      • Re:No duh? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:29AM (#32045734)

        Makes you wonder why they purchased it in the first place...

        To eliminate some of the competition. Anybody with any sense knew that when they bought them. They only kept them running this long for two reasons. One, to try and migrate some of the users to Itunes. Two, to see if there was anything that Lala did that they wanted to implement in Itunes.

  • by ojintoad (1310811) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:44AM (#32045028)
    Steve jobs sticks his fingers in his ears.. "LALALALALALALALALALA"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by box4831 (1126771)
      Correction:

      Steve jobs sticks his fat wads of cash in his ears.. "LALALALALALALALALA"
  • There was a bit of a storm forming as it started and the wind picked up when Steve Jobs took the stage. The CEO of Lala looked very nervous. Heat lightning started arcing through the clouds as Steve finished his speech. Then he gestured to the Lala CEO who obediently got down on his knees. Steve drew a giant claymore from behind the podium and said very loudly as the storm climaxed, "There can be only one." And lopped off the head of Lala's CEO. Steve stood there shaking with ferver and excitement as user after user account was transferred to iTunes Music Service, rendering him many millions more in revenue. While particularly gruesome, heartless and violent to the eyes of women and children in the crowd, in the business world it's a perfectly natural cycle.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I wish there was a way to metamoderate funny.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Princeofcups (150855)

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

      • 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 ... ?

      • That makes no sense.

        On the contrary, Lala was doing so great that Apple had to buy it in December for $80 million just so it could shut it off and kill the competition.

    • Thank you for this truly entertaining post.

  • someone doesn't want the remaining balance transferred to iTunes? Can they get a cash refund? (I don't use Lala.)

  • 3 E's (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Slash.Poop (1088395) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:50AM (#32045134) Homepage
    Embrace
    Extend
    Extinguish
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Super_Z (756391)
      Actually, Lala extingushed themselves due to a business model that did not include a "profit" part. But why be rational when you can bash Apple for picking up the pieces?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apple has always been more innovative than Microsoft. Their desktop OS has been years ahead of Windows for most of the past decade, and now their malicious business approach is beginning to surpass that of Microsoft's.

    • Re:3 E's (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gclef (96311) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:56AM (#32045238)

      And here Apple has shown once again that they're more efficient than Microsoft: they skipped step 2 entirely.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        By gum, you've sold me. (Throws Win7 PC in trash and goes looking for a cheap Mac.) Damn straight Apple is more efficient than Microsoft. Killed off the competition in mere MONTHS rather than years. ;-)

    • Not the right meme (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:26PM (#32046596)

      Embrace

      Extend

      Extinguish

      This gets +5 insightful?

      EEE does not mean "buy out your competition." EEE means "subvert and discredit your competition, forcing them out of business."

      An EEE strategy in this case would be:
      1. Embrace: Announce that iTunes will become a Lala client, with full support for all Lala features
      2. Extend: Offer new, proprietary features through iTunes that are not available through the regular Lala website, fostering dependence on iTunes as a Lala client
      3. Extinguish: Remove support for Lala from iTunes, leaving all Lala users dependent on iTunes

      In an EEE strategy, Lala would not have gotten a dime from Apple. Apple did not EEE Lala, Lala sold out to the man, plain and simple.

      • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:42PM (#32047538) Homepage

        This. If anyone is "evil" here it's the owners of Lala. You have this service. Lots of people like your service. You sell your service to a larger competitor, knowing full well they either a) plan to close it down and absorb everything useful, b) will give it half a chance, but in the end will probably shut it down and absorb it. Now the larger competitor is evil when they shut it down and absorb it? Since there was no hostile take over here, there are just a few possible scenarios:

        1) Lala was doing well, but the owners wanted more. Apple offered them a large pile of money and they accepted. They knew Apple was planning to shut them down in the near future, and didn't care.

        2) Lala was doing well, but the owners wanted more. Apple offered them a large pile of money and they accepted. Apple told them they had six months and X more piles of money to make the business profitable, or they would shut it down and absorb the useful bits. They failed. They probably cared some, but they would have shown it better if they'd just not sold out in the first place.

        3) Lala was failing. Apple bought it and propped it up for an extra 6 months while they prepared to absorb it. The owners knew this, but either thought it was worth it to keep the service around as long as they could, or just wanted their parts of the pile of money.

        4) Lala was failing. Apple bought it and propped it up for an extra 6 months to give the former owners (now managers) a chance to make it profitable. They failed and now Apple is going to absorb the useful bits.

        That's really about it. The various scenarios present different levels of "evil" on the parts of the owners, but in the end they basically boils down to: either the owners sold out, knowing full well they might be signing the services death warrant, or the owners sold out to keep a sinking ship afloat a little longer and hope for a miracle. In either case I seriously doubt Apple bought the service promising on their crossed hearts to keep it running forever regardless of profitability.

  • by Bombcar (16057)

    LaLa Hey Hey Kiss It Goodbye

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:53AM (#32045190)

    You should get a refund of your money, not have it be transferred to iTunes.
    What you agreed to pay for was Lala's service, not iTunes'.

    • by pdabbadabba (720526) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:09AM (#32045444) Homepage

      Apparently you can get a check if you request it by May 31.

    • by dunezone (899268)
      You know that somewhere in the EULA is some sort of cause that allows Apple to transfer the Lala service to another comparable service.
    • When CMP shut down Byte right after I renewed my subscription they didn't send me a check, or even offer me one.

    • What you agreed to pay for was Lala's service, not iTunes'.

      I disagree. Suppose you buy a gift card to Joe's Stuff, which is later bought by Bob's Widgets and gets converted to fit in with the rest of the chain. Bob's announces that all the Joe's Stuff gift cards will now be honored at all Bob's locations. Would you really expect to get a cash refund on your gift card, even though it's still being honored at its full face value for comparable products?

      You paid Lala for service. Now Apple is letting you use that money to pay them for the same service. I think that's

  • What's this distressd, and what's this disturbing trend to daemonize all our emotions? [slashdot.org]
  • Steve jobs as borg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twillerror (536681) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:00AM (#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

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

  • Evil? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:04AM (#32045368)

    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."

    Evil? Evil?

    You keep using that word but I don't think you know what it means.

    • by MRe_nl (306212) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:27AM (#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.

  • buy it while you can afford to, and then dismantle it..

  • I requested a refund check in the mail instead of a iTunes credit for the 20 cents left in my wallet... If only I could get a refund for my hundreds of web songs :(
    • by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:33PM (#32046702)

      If only I could get a refund for my hundreds of web songs :(

      Serves you right for paying for a license to listen to music instead of a downloaded file that you keep.

      Anyone know of a service that sells downloadable, DRM-free music that you can copy to unlimited computers, burn to CD, back up, and maybe use with iPods?

      I think the Amazon music store can do that. I wonder if there are any others....

  • by catmistake (814204) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:11AM (#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 Delusion_ (56114) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:37AM (#32045886) Homepage

      MP3 can be encoded at levels which achieve transparency - just like any other modern audio codec. While I'm not really up on what encoder and bitrates Lala used for its MP3 offerings, the notion that your music just sounds better than my mp3 library assumes that I am encoding MP3s at below-transparency levels, and that you are encoding your AAC, Ogg, or whatever lossy format at transparency levels, or that you are using a lossless codec and that somehow transparency "isn't enough".

      This is incorrect, sir. MP3 as a format choice isn't the sole (or even main) criteria for most people who use it. MP3 is able to achieve transparency, its file sizes are reasonable (LAME encoding at v0 comes to mind), it's compatible with any hardware or software that one will encounter in the real world, and if your friend asks you for a copy of that latest Autechre album, you don't have to pontificate about how your chosen encoding format is better than their chosen encoding format, despite the fact that their software may not support it and their factory-included car CD/MP3 player most certainly won't. A 3% file size decrease with, say, Ogg, simply isn't compelling when it means putting up with the fact that a lot of hardware doesn't support it.

      I'm here for the music. Give me transparency, and give me ubiquity. Your claim that you can achieve a better sound at "x" bitrate is not compelling when the file size of MP3 is not obscene, and when both formats can achieve transparency at a reasonable bitrate. Not having to pontificate about audio formats that hardly anyone actually uses? Hell, that's just icing on the cake.

  • MP3 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:13AM (#32045530)

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

    Are you calling AAC homosexual?

  • Chances are the technology will resurface in a web-based iTunes client one day soon. What are the dates for WWDC again?
  • despite all the sour stunts they pulled just in the last week (nearing 5 in number), and eclipsing microsoft in regard to evilish behavior per week rating, apple still cant be evil.

    because it just cant.

    if a friend of any of us behaved like apple, i wonder how many of us would keep him/her around them ...
  • Thanks Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:18AM (#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.

  • As opposed to "crooked" AAC with better aural quality at lower bitrates, and no DRM? You know AAC is the modern industry standard for audio encoding, don't you? There's nothing about AAC audio files on iTunes that is any more or less encumbered than MP3 audio files from Lala.

    Get a grip.

  • by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:03PM (#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.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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