Where music no longer plays
April 30, 2010 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Apple to shut down Lala May 31st.

If you've purchased music on Lala, Apple is offering iTunes store credits. Official statement from Apple/Lala (login required).
posted by OverlappingElvis (140 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh weird, I had never even heard of Lala. Wikipedia says the company was bought by Apple in December '09, which means they killed it six months after acquisition. I wonder if that was their plan in the first place?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:00 AM on April 30, 2010


Isn't this sort of thing very illegal?
posted by schmod at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2010


One would assume so. Perhaps apple just wanted to grab their patents? I've never heard of lala, either....
posted by mr_roboto at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2010


Lala offered full length previews of songs which showed up in Google searches and were very useful to me. So, damn.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


(That "one would assume so" was in response to Mr. Lewis' question regarding Apple's plans.)
posted by mr_roboto at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2010


Monopolies are never a good thing.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2010


Well, I never knew this existed and it would have been fun. Boo.
posted by anniecat at 9:04 AM on April 30, 2010


Damn it! I find a new reason to hate Apple more every week, it seems. When my iBook finally dies, I may get a PC out of spite. Bwhahaha!
posted by Houyhnhnm at 9:05 AM on April 30, 2010


Why is anyone surprised by this? Apple is clearly telescoping their plans. iTunes 10 will support the streaming of your music from cloud storage. That new giant data center in North Carolina that they just built certainly isn't for MobileMe. Lala has the technology and the talent so Apple bought them to expand the ever-growing iTunes behemoth. They'll glom moniker on the service (iTunes Jukebox or iTunes Anywhere) and we'll all be streaming music from our cloud-stored iTunes libraries a year from now.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 9:06 AM on April 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


Man, Lala was awesome. Fuck Apple.
posted by EarBucket at 9:06 AM on April 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


I liked Lala. Too bad.
posted by blucevalo at 9:06 AM on April 30, 2010


Will Apple be the first company to turn online music subscription services into a sizable business?

If you define sizable, yes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:07 AM on April 30, 2010


How is this a "monopoly"? Anyone else is free to compete, and there are plenty of companies who are.

As for Apple, if the OP link's speculation about an iTunes.com cloud service is correct, that sounds cool to me. Of course I'm suspicious of Apple's take on DRM, given their track record, so only time will tell.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:07 AM on April 30, 2010


YEA FUCK APPLE I'LL SHOW THEM IM USING SEMAPHORE TO SEND EMAIL NOW!
posted by basicchannel at 9:08 AM on April 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


monopoly? there are still many competitors to lala (and whatever forthcoming monstrosity apple and lala create) -- Mog, play.me, spotify, rhapsody, last.fm (at least until last week), grooveshark, etc. lala's coolest thing was their embeddable player but i guarantee you one of the aforementioned guys will copy that right quick.
posted by neustile at 9:09 AM on April 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why is anyone surprised by this? Apple is clearly telescoping their plans.

"Telegraphing"?
posted by grobstein at 9:10 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, sure, they're shutting lala down as a separate thing. My assumption is that Apple will relaunch the service as a value-add or something, tied to iTunes. Maybe people will be able to stream the songs that they own from iTunesCloud (I just made that up), which is really lala's service, without having to actually connect to a drive somewhere to stream their actual MP3 files.

Here's an interesting article by Charlie Stross, speculating further about Apple's medium-term plans for such things. I think it makes sense, what Apple is doing. Business sense, not idealistic neckbeard sense, maybe.
posted by dammitjim at 9:10 AM on April 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


motherfucker.
posted by boo_radley at 9:10 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, I never knew this existed and it would have been fun...
Man, Lala was awesome...
I liked Lala. Too bad...


Good news -- you're going to love iTunes 10! ☺
posted by mazola at 9:11 AM on April 30, 2010


Perhaps apple just wanted to grab their patents? I've never heard of lala, either....

That would be these patent applications, by the way. They haven't been granted anything yet.
posted by jedicus at 9:11 AM on April 30, 2010


iTunes in the cloud. Here it comes. The celestial jukebox will finally be a reality.

Wait, you mean it already exists? And has existed for years? But ... Steve Jobs ...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That explains what happened to WOXY, most likely.
posted by sciurus at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2010


Perhaps apple just wanted to grab their patents?

No, they were protecting us from Flash. Expect a buyout of YouTube next.
posted by DU at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm just crushed by this. Lala was easily the best music site in the US. My workdays are going to get a lot shittier.
posted by naju at 9:14 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Isn't this sort of thing very illegal?

No, not a big deal.

Steve

Sent from my iPad
posted by geoff. at 9:14 AM on April 30, 2010 [38 favorites]


Man, Lala was awesome. Fuck Apple.

The only difference between this and "Man, [GrandCentral, Writely, etc] was awesome. Fuck Google." is that Apple is likely to charge for the service instead of give it away. And Google only provides services like these for free so they can target you better for advertising.
posted by dammitjim at 9:15 AM on April 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yes, telegraphing, not telescoping. Sorry about that.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 9:16 AM on April 30, 2010


How is this a "monopoly"? Anyone else is free to compete, and there are plenty of companies who are.

Yeah, but if they get too big and too dangerous to the almighty iTunes Apple buys them, and kills them.

At least, it sounds like an anti-competitive process.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 9:16 AM on April 30, 2010


And aside from the streaming, the social and recommendation aspects of Lala were brilliant. I had a strong social network on the site, and regularly heard about and listened to bands before Pitchfork et al were clued into them. Sad.
posted by naju at 9:17 AM on April 30, 2010


Is Lala the US Spotify? Because the new version of that just let me kick iTunes out of the dock
posted by bonaldi at 9:18 AM on April 30, 2010


So maybe Apple (and Google) are the new Microsoft - the big company that everyone hopes to get bought out by so they can cash in.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:18 AM on April 30, 2010


Isn't this sort of thing very illegal?

How so?
posted by ook at 9:19 AM on April 30, 2010


At least, it sounds like an anti-competitive process.

True, but when people conflate "anti-competitive" and "monopoly" it doesn't do anyone a favor.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this the thread where I sputter righteous indignation about Apple, buttressed solely with erroneous assumptions, misinformation, and falsehoods?

If you don't think LaLa is currently being integrated with iTunes as we speak (likely for a June 7 debut), well, you're an ignoramus.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, if Apple were to buy Wal-Mart, then there would be a potential monopoly issue.
posted by dammitjim at 9:21 AM on April 30, 2010


Thanks for that Stross piece, dammitjim–very insightful. These developments point to something that I've been saying for a while – we are essentially moving back to the "terminal" model of computing, only the terminals are compact and nifty. And there's no mainframe per se.
posted by Mister_A at 9:25 AM on April 30, 2010


Grrr... Lala was really useful for checking out new music before actually going and buying it. This blows.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:26 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you don't think LaLa is currently being integrated with iTunes as we speak (likely for a June 7 debut), well, you're an ignoramus.

I have serious doubts that Apple will be keeping Lala's cloud pricing model (stream anything once; after that, you can buy songs for 10 cents or albums for roughly $1 that you can listen to through the cloud.) Most likely, that pretty generous model was getting in the way of the iTunes model with its 99 cents per mp3.
posted by naju at 9:27 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only difference between this and "Man, [GrandCentral, Writely, etc] was awesome. Fuck Google." is that Apple is likely to charge for the service instead of give it away.

Also, as a GrandCentral user before Google bought them, I never lost my GrandCentral account or any of the features it had even when GrandCentral itself was phased out. Google transitioned me directly from GrandCentral to Google Voice, and I even got to keep my phone number. From a user perspective, it's nice to be able to keep using the old service until the new service is up and running.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:29 AM on April 30, 2010


Maybe I'm way off-base, but it seems the idea of "iTunes in the cloud" suggested by this article already exists in the form of Spotify. I hope Spotify is successful in negotiating its way into new markets, such as the US. They have had trouble securing deals here but seem to have set a tentative launch date... again?
posted by melatonic at 9:29 AM on April 30, 2010


You got me on my knees, Lala.....
posted by Kskomsvold at 9:29 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing I don't get is, if Apple intends to just repackage the services Lala provided, why close the site down and cancel all customer accounts, giving them credits to iTunes or refunds? Why not instead keep the site running and then just fold over the current customer base into their new product when it debuts? That would be a more user-friendly way to do this.

Did something in management change at Apple? They used to be really good at projecting a public image as one of the "good-guys" but lately they really seem to be dropping the ball on that.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:34 AM on April 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


This really bums me out. I think I just fell out of love with Apple today.

Yes, at least some of this functionality will be built into the new iTunes, but not all of it. Here are my big questions:

1. Will it be browser-based?
2. Will it allow full-length preview songs?
3. Will it sync with your music from other sources?

And here are my guesses:

1. I'm holding a little hope on this one, but probably not. If there's one thing Apple loves, it's making you install iTunes/Quicktime. I wonder how much money they make off of those Quicktime popup ads.
2. No.
3. No, and this is the crux of the matter. Apple doesn't want to be one of many places that you get music, and they've finally found a way that they can become your exclusive source.

Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have always wanted you to think of them as your primary source for everything, but they've also grudgingly made some allowances. Now, Apple is pulling the rug out.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:35 AM on April 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


"we'll all be streaming music from our cloud-stored iTunes libraries a year from now"

I've looked a clouds from both side now.

From up and down, and still, somehow, it's cloud illusions I recall.

I really don't know clouds at all.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:35 AM on April 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


And you know what, if this represents the first stages of the final victory of content over hardware, I'm all for it, seeing as how I'm a content guy.
posted by Mister_A at 9:36 AM on April 30, 2010


Isn't this sort of thing very illegal?
posted by schmod


What? Google and yahoo buy companies weekly only to eventually shut them down. Remember when facebook bought friendfeed (I know, you don't)? Friendfeed is irrelevant now. This practice is par for the course in the tech world. But now it's evil apple so we're upset? This is almost comical.

Lala was acquired to give apple an itunes cloud service. This was known 6 months ago. Leave it to metafilter to freak the fuck out. If you're response today is an angry 'motherfucker' then perhaps you might want to crawl out from under your rock every now and then.

Google transitioned me directly from GrandCentral to Google Voice, and I even got to keep my phone number. From a user perspective, it's nice to be able to keep using the old service until the new service is up and running.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:29 AM


And they completely killed dodgeball after buying it. You'll find no shortage of developers that sold to google, thought their baby would get attention, and eventually left google when their project was abandoned or killed.

Your example is nothing more than the exception that proves the rule.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:36 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have serious doubts that Apple will be keeping Lala's cloud pricing model (stream anything once; after that, you can buy songs for 10 cents or albums for roughly $1 that you can listen to through the cloud.) Most likely, that pretty generous model was getting in the way of the iTunes model with its 99 cents per mp3.

Individual tracks can be purchased in MP3 format for 89 cents, or for ten cents, members can purchase the right to stream a song from the website as many times as desired (referred to as a "web song") [source]

naju: that's exactly the kind of falsehoods and misinformation I'm talking about

burnmp3s: Yes, I'm it would have been nice, but you're comparing Apples (heh) and oranges. Google didn't have an existing service that it was necessary to integrate Grand Central with, nor did it have to deal with record label contracts and their byzantine clauses.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:41 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spotify is awesome. I got to use it for two weeks, before it realized I was an American and promptly shut down.

Grooveshark gets me 80% there, but Spotify's interface seemed faster and more fluid. Plus, you can now import and export iTunes playlists from Spotify, if I understand correctly.

If Apple weren't evil, they'd be wise to copy/buy Spotify, merge it with iTunes and/or browsers, and let people sample any song they like the full way through, and have them pay to carry the songs on their iPod/iPhone. And maybe charge a monthly fee for the iPhone app, if they feel comfortable streaming to handhelds.

But since Apple is evil, I think we should instead hope that Google someday uses their AJAX mastery to make the world's best web jukebox app. I mean, we'll need something that works well in Chrome OS if they really expect us to use a netbook with no native apps. Grooveshark uses too much flash and therefore drains a battery too quick. It could be done in JS, it's just that nobody AFAICT has the ability to get the licenses and do the proper coding as of yet, aside from huge companies that choose not to.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:42 AM on April 30, 2010


entropic: um yes, I said a web song is 10 cents, and so does wikipedia. Where's my falsehood and misinformation?
posted by naju at 9:45 AM on April 30, 2010


This doesn't strike me as anticompetitive. There are still alternatives out there. They just don't all have the same features, which is good as it gives each of them a fighting reason to exist. Anyone who understands antitrust law know exactly when the line would be crossed?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:48 AM on April 30, 2010


naju: You said "you can buy songs for 10 cents" when that is not the case. You license the song for streaming for 10 cents and buy the song for download for $0.89.

I wonder if the purchased songs include DRM and what bitrate they are at?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:49 AM on April 30, 2010


My theory is that it's sort of like those horror stories about someone getting a heart transplant from a serial killer and then turning into a serial killer. I'm not sure who Jobs' new liver came from, but I know whoever it was was bad.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:49 AM on April 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


"we'll all be streaming music from our cloud-stored iTunes libraries a year from now"

I don't think that anything short of a gun would get me to install iTunes on a computer of mine again so I doubt that I'll be joining you in that cloud.
posted by octothorpe at 9:50 AM on April 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


You license the song for streaming for 10 cents and buy the song for download for $0.89.

Oh brother, is this about semantics? I use Lala to purchase (e.g., use my credit card to transfer monies to Lala for) songs which I can then listen to on the cloud.
posted by naju at 9:52 AM on April 30, 2010


Grooveshark already has an embeddable player. Just hit "export" beneath the song you're playing, and you can embed one of these jobbies.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:53 AM on April 30, 2010


What exactly was unique about Lala aside from an embeddable player and full previews? Those can be found elsewhere.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:55 AM on April 30, 2010


Go to the App Store and search for "music streaming". Hint: Pandora and last.fm are among the first hits. Heckuva way to hang onto that monopoly. And, yeah, it sucks when your favorite [whatever] gets bought out and shut down, but I'm going to hazard a guess that Bill Nguyen didn't take that $80 million check at gunpoint.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:57 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pulling an all-nighter to write a paper, sleepily going to lala to listen to an album and being faced with a giant "LALA IS SHUTTING DOWN" notice? Terrible night.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 10:01 AM on April 30, 2010


naju: It is about you comparing LaLa's price to stream to Apple's price to purchase instead of LaLa's price to purchase to Apple's price to purchase. Do you really not see the difference?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:02 AM on April 30, 2010


: we'll all be streaming music from our cloud-stored iTunes libraries a year from now.

Ahahahahahahaaa.
*snrrrrrk*
Heh.

Seriously - How about "no"? I still buy CDs and rip them myself, because I want local control of my media library. Amazon "gets" that1, and when2 the day comes that CDs go the way of vinyl, I will do all my buying through them, or some other store that also "gets" it.

And a credit at the iTMS? How much more insulting could they get? "We destroyed something you liked, but here, we'll let you pretend you backed the right horse all along."

As for trusting Apple not to pull... well, "a Lala" - Not exactly off to the best of starts here. Nothing like sending a clear message about just how much they value end users' right to keep using a service those users have paid for.


1 - Not that they have the best record with eBooks, but for music, they've done alright
2 - Sadly, very much a "when", not an "if"

posted by pla at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


naju: It is about you comparing LaLa's price to stream to Apple's price to purchase instead of LaLa's price to purchase to Apple's price to purchase. Do you really not see the difference?

OK, I finally see what you're getting at, but my original comment was about cloud pricing models. It's like this:

mp3 price - .89 (Lala) vs. .99 (iTunes) (fine - I don't care about this part, really)
cloud price - .10 (Lala) vs. ?? (iTunes, if they'll offer such something comparable, which is doubtful because it's getting in the way of the .99 thing they have going for them which is currently very profitable - and if they do offer cloud pricing, it will probably be more than .10)
posted by naju at 10:06 AM on April 30, 2010


what is all this talk about guns? is apple giving out guns? can I get one?
posted by boo_radley at 10:06 AM on April 30, 2010


I love lala and will miss it greatly. I have discovered so much wonderful music using lala. Is anyone aware of a similar service to lala, 10 cents per streaming song and the like? And, don't tell me to wait for Apple's version. I won't be biting.
posted by GregWithLime at 10:08 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


And they completely killed dodgeball after buying it. You'll find no shortage of developers that sold to google, thought their baby would get attention, and eventually left google when their project was abandoned or killed.

Yes, my point was not that Google's practices with regard to acquisitions are always better or that this hasn't been done thousands of times in many different industries. My point was that as a user, when a service you like is bought by one of their larger competitors, it's nice if the competitor doesn't just shut down the service with vague secret plans to do something similar in the future. It sucks whether it's Google, Microsoft, or Apple sending you the email that one of the services you like is getting shut down.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:08 AM on April 30, 2010


Hurr yes, Apple is selling guns, but they only shoot Apple's bullets. Also, no tracer rounds because Apple hates Flash.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2010 [17 favorites]


entropicamericana : It is about you comparing LaLa's price to stream to Apple's price to purchase instead of LaLa's price to purchase to Apple's price to purchase. Do you really not see the difference?

"Purchase"? Now, I tend to take a strong anti-IP stance and treat my media purchases as just that, "purchases" rather than "licensing"; but make no mistake, legally, all of our media acquisitions involve mere licensing rather than purchases. Some just happen to come with a shiny polycarbonate disc.

Combine that with the fact that "downloading" just means "one-time streaming", and it quickly becomes obvious that Lala offered more than iTMS, for a tenth the price.
posted by pla at 10:12 AM on April 30, 2010


So, say someone other than Apple makes this legendary cloud-based HTML5 streaming service (which is bound to happen someday IMO). Think Apple would try to block it from the iPad/iPhone?
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


White, shiny iGuns that check you into Foursquare whenever you fire them. So cool.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I loved that most music sites were adding a lala frame next to their reviews. It was an easy way to preview an album before buying it. (granted, I never bought anything from lala, instead opting for Amazon's MP3 service)

Here's to hoping that Apple's integration of lala's framework allows for the same kind of use and this is just going to amount to a rebranding of lala's service.

But I doubt it.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:15 AM on April 30, 2010


Boo - I like Lala...
posted by LakesideOrion at 10:19 AM on April 30, 2010


mp3 price - .89 (Lala) vs. .99 (iTunes) (fine - I don't care about this part, really)
cloud price - .10 (Lala) vs. ?? (iTunes, if they'll offer such something comparable, which is doubtful because it's getting in the way of the .99 thing they have going for them which is currently very profitable - and if they do offer cloud pricing, it will probably be more than .10)


It's pretty obvious Apple bought LaLa to get their IP instead of building a service from the ground up. I don't think it's about shuttering a competitor; they haven't bought Spotify, last.fm, Pandora, et al.

As for pricing, Apple doesn't make much (if anything) from the music store; it's used to drive iPod and iPhone sales. I suspect the iTMS Cloud service would be much of the same. It is interesting that LaLa was apparently $0.89 across the board for buying mp3s. Did you know the record labels forced Apple to institute variable pricing on their music? Did you also know Warner invested $20 million in LaLa? I wonder if LaLa's comparatively generous pricing scheme was an attempt by the record labels to wrestle marketshare (and leverage) from Apple?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:22 AM on April 30, 2010


Boo - I like Lala...
posted by LakesideOrion at 2:19 PM on April 30 [+] [!]


1. Apple has smart people in it.
2. Apple saw that a lot of people liked Lala and thought it was worth buying.
?3. Apple destroys everything people liked about Lala, because of their clear long track record of not knowing anything about their customers and not in any way dominating the music market.

Yeah, that's clearly the way this will unfold.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:23 AM on April 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Your favourite company is pretty much just as dickish as all over companies, if not occasionally more so.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Combine that with the fact that "downloading" just means "one-time streaming, and it quickly becomes obvious that Lala offered more than iTMS, for a tenth the price.

How useful is that $0.10 license to stream a song without an Internet connection? How useful is that $0.99 "one time streaming" without an Internet connection? Again, apples and oranges.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:25 AM on April 30, 2010


Well, bla, perhaps not all of us. I didn't mean to use the absolute term so literally. But many people will be streaming their music from an iTunes cloud. Just wait and see. Let's check back on this thread a year from now and see who's right and who's wrong.

Note that I'm also disappointed that Lala is being killed by Apple, but my personal feelings have nothing to do with my predictions for what Apple is doing and where the the industry is going. Charlie Stross (thanks for that awesome link!) is completely prescient.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 10:30 AM on April 30, 2010


As far as the license goes, a license to download an MP3 (or other unlocked file) is worth more to a user than a license to stream, even though it is less bandwidth costs for the company. Weird, eh? Anyway, things are priced not by what it will cost the company, but by the highest amount that people are willing to pay (what the market will bear).

Anyway, I prefer used CDs, but that's because they're cheap, not compressed (although most online stores are fine these days) and come with printed artwork. Of course, they're also a bum deal for the artist. My head hurts when I think about the ethics of music buying.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:31 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]




I was a member of lala.com when it was a CD trading site. I never traded a CD, but my friend wanted me to sign up because his friend was at the startup lala. I assume my friend's friend is rich now, irrespective of the state of lala itself.

Probably a bit of a jab at google... but the 'taste of a song' thing was pretty lame, with nearly all new releases, etc available streaming on youtube these days.
posted by nutate at 10:39 AM on April 30, 2010


What I used Lala for was to listen to an album all the way through once for free in order to decide whether to buy it on CD. I'm old enough to still want my music in a physical format if it's something I think I'm going to be into for more than just a few months, but I really appreciated the ability to preview an entire album in the comfort of my own home before purchasing.
posted by matildaben at 10:39 AM on April 30, 2010


Bing took over some internet program I liked a lot, and I was upset over it when it happened. Now I can't remember the name of that site.

I lived fine without Lala for a long time, and it I'll probably live fine without it. It's not like we've been linking to Lala to demo songs here on the site; the #1 place to preview music is still YouTube, it seems.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2010


Damn. Whenever I'm teaching guitar students and someone says, "Can I learn this song?" I could type it into the google and be hearing the song streaming from LaLa about 1.5 seconds after I finish typing (which, given Google's autocomplete and my students' tastes in music was often only about 5 characters).

Now it's going to take me at least 5 seconds to pull up a YouTube video instead.
posted by straight at 10:44 AM on April 30, 2010


This might just be subjective, but I find YouTube audio quality to be piss-poor compared to Lala. That shouldn't be a surprise, since there's a whole video streaming aspect to worry about there.
posted by naju at 10:45 AM on April 30, 2010


There's no way Apple isn't going to charge for this when they relaunch it branded under Apple. They're not Google.
posted by toekneebullard at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2010


On the upside, I went into a Verizon store yesterday with my last AT&T bill in hand, ported my number, kicked my iPhone 3GS to the curb and got me a shiny new HTC Incredible. It is amazing to me how much Android 2.1 kicks the shit out of Apple's iPhone OS.

I installed three web browsers. Three! And when I clicked on a link in an e-mail, Android popped up a message that said, "Hey, which one of these would you like to use as your default browser?"

I was in complete and utter shock.

In summary, fuck you, Steve.
posted by kbanas at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


neustile: "monopoly? there are still many competitors to lala (and whatever forthcoming monstrosity apple and lala create) -- Mog, play.me, spotify, rhapsody, last.fm (at least until last week), grooveshark, etc. lala's coolest thing was their embeddable player but i guarantee you one of the aforementioned guys will copy that right quick."


I use last.fm... I noticed I can't share a full track anymore? Is this what you mean? What are the new last.fm changes? I don't know what's going on, but I know I'm not particularly happy about their latest changes. Can you tell me what the deal is or give a link?

I've also heard plenty of good stuff about spotify, but that the US can't get it (at least in its current form)...

That said. Fuck the cloud services. I got jinzora (and there's other streaming options that are easier to setup than that -- one is a java based web server that I've monkeyed with. And Opera has a built in streaming media server if you wish to go that route)
posted by symbioid at 10:54 AM on April 30, 2010


I have eaten
the music streaming service
that was in
the cloud

and which
you were probably
hoping
would last.

Forgive me
it was delicious
so sweet
and so cold.
- Apple
ALSO:

YO, SUP DAWG, WE HEARD YOU LIKE STREAMS, SO WE PUT STREAMS IN YO CLOUD SO YOU CAN PAY US WHILE YOU STREAM.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


On the upside, I went into a Verizon store yesterday with my last AT&T bill in hand, ported my number

I would so love to get out of AT&T's grasp (though probably to T-Mobile because I much prefer GSM), but the damned free in-network calling means I'm stuck to them forever. Unless I can get all my family and friends to change too. I'm pretty sure 80%+ of my minutes go to in-network calls.

*sigh*
posted by kmz at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2010


Anyway, I prefer used CDs, but that's because they're cheap, not compressed (although most online stores are fine these days) and come with printed artwork. Of course, they're also a bum deal for the artist. My head hurts when I think about the ethics of music buying.

I kind of wish artists would put PayPal buttons on their websites so you could just send them money directly. Or at least some indication of how much money they get if you buy a tshirt or something. I just bought a never-opened CD mail order from some independent record store halfway across the country for $1, because the guy who made it doesn't have a website anymore, and I feel like tracking him down and sending him $20.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2010


Monopolies are never a good thing.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 12:02 PM on April 30


Funny you should say that. I was at a talk where people were discussing cash hoarding by tech and growth companies as an implicit acknowledgment of monopoly power in the context of some other factors (see MSFT, GOOG, etc).
posted by Pastabagel at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2010


I loved the integration various music sites were doing with Lala. How much fun will Pitchfork be without it?

... in the end, though, this wasn't a surprise, especially after the death of imeem. These services aren't profitable... it's that simple.
posted by ph00dz at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2010


entropicamericana : How useful is that $0.10 license to stream a song without an Internet connection? How useful is that $0.99 "one time streaming" without an Internet connection? Again, apples and oranges.

Streaming unavoidably requires downloading.
Downloading does not require streaming.
DRM counts as an entirely separate technical matter applicable to either.

Everything else reduces to $0.10-vs-$0.99.


And mrbarrett.com... Name-calling? really???
To respond to you, though - I consider you, unfortunately, 100% correct. iTunes will win, at least in the short to medium term, for the simple reason that the recording industry hasn't figured out their irrelevance yet and still thinks they can dictate terms to their customers. On the longer term, no one can compete with piracy offering a superior product. The more annoying the terms, the more attractive piracy becomes. As the logical end-result of that, I believe we'll eventually see streamable and (allowed) downloadable music (and later, movies) become available for a subscription-based pittance, with essentially no non-commercial restrictions on use. When the inconvenience of piracy exceeds the cost of accessing it legally, then and only then will we have a viable distribution model.
posted by pla at 10:58 AM on April 30, 2010


To answer my own question (wikipedia to the rescue):

"On 12 April 2010, Last.fm announced that they would be removing the option to preview entire tracks, instead redirecting to sites such as the free 'Hype Machine' and pay-to-listen 'Mog' for this purpose. This provoked a large negative reaction from some of the Last.fm user community who perceive the removal as hindering the ability of lesser-known and unsigned artists to gain exposure for their music and general enjoyment of the site.[54]"
posted by symbioid at 11:02 AM on April 30, 2010


The new Spotify client is so far ahead Apple needs to buy them to keep up. Seriously.
posted by mr.marx at 11:03 AM on April 30, 2010


It doesn't have to be a monopoly to be a shitty move that hurts the general net user.
posted by smackfu at 11:04 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the scary thing is if Apple starts throwing around some more of that cash to kill off iTunes competitors. How much would Pandora need to be paid to shut down?
posted by smackfu at 11:07 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


YEA FUCK APPLE I'LL SHOW THEM IM USING SEMAPHORE TO SEND EMAIL NOW!

You know it's possible to send an email without using Apple products, right?

The only difference between this and "Man, [GrandCentral, Writely, etc] was awesome. Fuck Google." is that Apple is likely to charge for the service instead of give it away. And Google only provides services like these for free so they can target you better for advertising.

It must be nice to have the difference between "free" and "costs money" be a trivial one.
posted by EarBucket at 11:09 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


all be streaming music from our cloud-stored iTunes libraries a year from now

Yeah, when they rewrite the codebase to be as lithe and quick as WinAmp v2.9x. Which is to say, NEVER.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:10 AM on April 30, 2010


I can't get too het-up about the DRM or pricing on iTunes, given that my usual modus operandi is stream, infringe, buy. As Last.fm has pretty much everything I want that's not still in promo phase, and if they don't have it, someone has ripped it to mediafire.com, and if I still like it after listening to it for a couple of months all lossy from the mp3, then I try to buy the vinyl or a CD (I've been listening to a lot more CDs lately, and y'know, goddamn if they really don't sound yards better and I just don't have the inclination to deal with FLAC).

So, iTunes is what I use for my library, but I only purchase shit there when I want to hear a specific song or album right then and all the Rapidshare links have been deleted. Lala was even less useful, as it usually takes more than one listen to decide if I want the song. I kind of wish that there was just an equivalent to an ASCAP or BMI app that I could run on my computer, loading it up with some paypal cash and letting it disburse it to the artists I listen to, but until that point, well, I hope Last.fm folks get paid at least.
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 AM on April 30, 2010


If you want something fast to organize and play MP3s, build your own from the ground up in FooBar.

I'd really love a cloud based HTML5 iTunes, though, since Apple would be penalized by bandwidth costs if it got too bloated.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


pla -> And mrbarrett.com... Name-calling? really???.

Nope, just a typo on your name. No offense intended.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 11:19 AM on April 30, 2010


> My theory is that it's sort of like those horror stories about someone getting a heart transplant from a serial killer and then turning into a serial killer.

Actually, this is much more like one of those Lifetime Network stories of finally realizing that you're a battered wife.

Jobs has always been like this; the interesting thing about Jobs is that he's extremely consistent. Even the old bit about calling him "mercurial" was deluded; his patterns, complete with the You're Great/You Suck/You're Great/You Suck alternations that he is said to use in person, and the thinking and drives behind them, are the same as they've ever been.

The important thing to understand about "Steve" is that he's a cult leader, with the same psychology that most successful cult leaders have: a) a belief that they can create an idea/recognize a Truth that others will follow; b) a belief that others will find more reward in following this truth than comparing it against conventional empirical standards; c) a belief that their personal success/pleasure is actually the highest of all standards; d) minimal sentimental attachment to their Truth, along with a willingness to modify the Truth whenever convenient.

This psychology isn't a good or bad thing; it's just something very effective for mobilizing a large group of people in a defined direction over a long period of time.

It Just Works.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2010


Been a while since I've heard the cult leader trope... Are you going to pull out the "ONE BUTTON MOUSE" or "M.A.C.S. CANT PLAY GAMES" trope next?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:28 AM on April 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


mccarty.tim : If you want something fast to organize and play MP3s, build your own from the ground up in FooBar.

This.

As a looong time fan of Winamp, I came across Foobar2000 a year or two ago, and use it exclusively now. It loads incredibly fast, supports any format I've thrown at it (including a few WinAmp complained about), and "just plain works".
posted by pla at 11:30 AM on April 30, 2010


WTF guys, don't tell Jobs about Spotify.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


This might just be subjective, but I find YouTube audio quality to be piss-poor compared to Lala.

Sure, but it's plenty good enough to hear which three chords Taylor Swift is using this week.
posted by straight at 11:31 AM on April 30, 2010


It must be nice to have the difference between "free" and "costs money" be a trivial one.

Oh don't be snide. I, too, use Google's services (in part) because they're free, and I'm not an Apple-products-as-status-symbol douche.

But as someone who works in the Marketing profession in/on the interwebs, more and more I am beginning to appreciate the straightforward "I pay this company to give me a service and then they stay out of my business" relationship instead of ad-supported or synergy-supported or marketshare-supported or whatever.

Apple could offer some portion of lala's service for free, too, as further lockin to iTunes. This doesn't personally bother me, since I use an iPhone and need iTunes already (yes, I know I could jailbreak and all that, but my linux-on-the-desktop years are behind me, thanks), so I've already paid Apple for the ecosystem privilege. Apple is trying to add incremental value to buying into their ecosystem.
posted by dammitjim at 11:31 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you guys going to bitch every time a startup with a non-profit business model designed to lure you in precisely so that they can sell you out to a bigger company does just that?
posted by Wood at 11:36 AM on April 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


Huh, the Lala players on these Onion AV Club articles all still work...
posted by nicwolff at 11:40 AM on April 30, 2010


Man, I loved that band too, until they sold out dude. Now I only listen to Friendly Wig-Monsters Who Ate Sheboygan. They're cool, and way underground. You probably haven't heard of them yet.
posted by aramaic at 11:52 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oooo- I've been waiting all morning for this FPP (too shy to start one myself). I've enjoyed Lala nearly every day for the past 6 months or so because I love...
  • The first-listen-for-free model compels me to delve further into music that I haven't been exposed to yet;
  • Ten cents for the right to stream a song any time I want seems like a good price to a hardcore cheapskate such as myself (I'll be getting nearly $20 in iTunes credits when Lala folds!);
  • No proprietary software required. Any computer with a browser & web access becomes my jukebox.
So if Jobs & Co. kill Lala off with no effort to duplicate it, I will miss it greatly. Another sad thing - when a popular web 2.0 media distribution site goes offline, the virtual community that it created is killed off as well. All those member playlists, reviews, recommendations, etc. are gone forever. Couldn't they have just have rebranded it "Applelala" and kept it functioning with as few tweaks as necessary?
posted by squalor at 11:54 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


LaLa LaLa
LaLa LaLa
Hey Hey Hey
Goodbye!
posted by Mister_A at 11:55 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you guys going to bitch every time a startup with a non-profit business model designed to lure you in precisely so that they can sell you out to a bigger company does just that?

Are you sure it's non-profit?

Amount of money I've spent through Lala in the past year: $100+
Amount of money I've spent through iTunes or otherwise buying mp3s in the past decade: zero
posted by naju at 11:57 AM on April 30, 2010


Revenue and profit ain't the same thing, to be sure; the error in the quote you quoted there was calling it a "non-profit" business model, which is very much a different thing from a "build to flip" business model.
posted by Mister_A at 11:59 AM on April 30, 2010


Did you mean non-profit as it "won't make money," instead of the common definition of "designed to do something other than make money?" When I hear non-profit, I'm thinking it's a company that's designed to do charity work or carry out the bidding of an industry group (like the RIAA).

Once that's cleared up, I agree that Lala probably wasn't intending to stay independent too long. It'll just be a shame if Apple doesn't open up something similar in its place. It sounded like a useful service.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:02 PM on April 30, 2010


Are you guys going to bitch every time a startup with a non-profit business model designed to lure you in precisely so that they can sell you out to a bigger company does just that?

Yes, especially if Apple is involved.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 PM on April 30, 2010


Man, all these apple FPPs are really pissing me off, I can't find a single place to vent all my pent up rage about an organization not living up to expectations that others had set for it, instead acting like an organization with it's own. I mean, I hate it when I expect a company to be 100% awesome and it is only 80% awesome based on my assumptions of what are awesome.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:08 PM on April 30, 2010


It's a derail, but I've noticed a weird creep happening in the meaning of the word "nonprofit." In a few different places, I've seen people refer to Twitter as a nonprofit. As someone who works in the nonprofit sector, I find that pretty annoying.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:18 PM on April 30, 2010


For what it's worth I was being vaguely sarcastic with my use of the word nonprofit referencing the stereotypical business structure of dot coms. Real nonprofits and not-for-profits are another thing entirely.
posted by Wood at 12:50 PM on April 30, 2010


I was working at Google New York when Dodgeball was taken over.

Google most certainly did not buy it to destroy it. They destroyed it by mistake and I think there were a lot of regrets on both sides. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, instead of letting the Dodgeball guys go off and do their thing, they proceeded to make them waste the next year or two rewriting the product to use the Google infrastructure. Eventually, the Dodgeball founders got sick of it and left en masse. If you talked to the management at Google they'd admit that the fault was almost entirely theirs...

I'm pretty anti-corporate and I think Google has no idea how corporate it really is - but the fact is that they really do try to be open. Did you know there's a whole engineering department at Google just to make sure that anyone can always easily get all their data back from Google, free? I certainly have my differences with the GOOG but they try pretty hard to be open, and that's absolutely not the case with Apple.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll hijack in here, does anyone know of a good LaLa open source alternative? It'd be nice to host my personal music somewhere and be able to play it from a browser. I use Slimserver -> Hardware Receiver, but there's no functionality to play within a browser. I know there's opentape, but it doesn't appear to organize your library and just exists as a set of playlists.
posted by geoff. at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2010


Yeah, I kind of figured that, Wood. Sorry if I came off as overly defensive. I have heard people who should know better talking about Twitter in the same breath as Oxfam.

Incidentally, here's a great piece by an actual nonprofit strategist about what's so dangerous about these free-until-we-find-a-business-model services. When the danger is roll truck roll not being able to listen to free music anymore, it's a tolerable annoyance. When the danger is your organization losing your Ning website unless you can start paying a monthly fee, that's another story.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2010


lupus_yonderboy: "anyone can always easily get all their data back from Google, free"

I'm fascinated. What's that mean, exactly? Does that mean I can request the entire advertising dossier they've collected on me from my years of browsing on Google-Analytics-enabled sites (which would be totally amazing)? Or does it mean I can somehow download my archives from Gmail and Google Notebook and whatnot?
posted by roll truck roll at 1:15 PM on April 30, 2010


Did you know there's a whole engineering department at Google just to make sure that anyone can always easily get all their data back from Google, free?

That's not bad at all, ok it's half good. However, I want my data to be primarily stored where I choose. I'd consider using a cloud app if it could read and write to say, something like dropbox (especially if I could make my dropbox-like-thing give out write-only permissions to random apps). Export isn't the same thing.

Honestly I think Apple is more likely to do this than Google. I think one really good and open thing that could come out of Apple is if they look at their position vis-a-vis the cloud and decide that rather than go head-on against Google (or Microsoft) they decide instead to make their client platform (ipad etc) target commodity cloud storage, something like webdav that doesn't suck. Syncing to your own desktop could be an option, really that's not any different.

That would be awesome.
posted by Wood at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pandora is safe, right?
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2010


WTF guys, don't tell Jobs about Spotify.

Oh please no. I love spotify*, and I also like plugging my second-hand ipod into more than one PC.

*completely free access to craptonnes of music, new and old, with no restrictions apart from a 30s-to-1m advert every three or four songs? yeah, I'm sure that'd remain under Apple.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:57 PM on April 30, 2010


Pandora is safe, right?

Until Avatar 2 comes out, sure.
posted by kmz at 1:57 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I signed up with LaLa a long time ago, when they were a peer-to-peer CD exchange business. I got a shitload of empty sleeves/mailers and my Free! LaLa t-shirt. What I want to know is, do I mail these to Jobs, or just General Delivery @ Cupertino?
posted by beelzbubba at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh, the Lala players on these Onion AV Club articles all still work...

The Lala service will be shut down on May 31, 2010. Today is only April 30th, you have a month yet.

My problem with jukeboxes in general is that you can't add you own music, and you can't sort music by your own preferences (assuming your preferences include renaming files for better sorting).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:09 PM on April 30, 2010


filthy light thief: "My problem with jukeboxes in general is that you can't add you own music, and you can't sort music by your own preferences (assuming your preferences include renaming files for better sorting)."

I think you might be confused about what Lala is. My Lala account has thousands of my own tracks that I've ripped or downloaded from other sites. You can download a Lala desktop app that matches all the mp3s on your computer to see if they're in the Lala catalog. If so, you can listen to them online. If not, it uploads them.

The only thing I know of out there like Lala is MP3tunes, which I used for a couple years and even had a paid account for. This was 2005-2006, and the service was pretty buggy. I'm thinking of taking a look to see if it's improved.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a bummer that so many of my blog posts with lala album streams are going to be broken on May 31.

But the thing I'll miss most about lala will be its Music Mover. Whenever I downloaded an album from lala or emusic or amazon or mediafire and added it to my iTunes library, Music Mover would add it to my Lala library, so I could listen to it on any flash-enabled web browser.

Rumor had it that, right before Apple bought them, lala had submitted a Spotify-esque iPhone app which connected with a user's Lala music library. I hope Apple brings that idea back, but it's a bummer that they're just trashing the old service rather than migrating to a newly-branded one.
posted by sleeping bear at 2:41 PM on April 30, 2010


By the way, roll truck roll, I looked at your link and I'm in violent agreement. It's sort of like trying to do serious work with playstations as general purpose computing platforms. I'm not pro-rapacious corporation or in favor of them screwing people but people need to consider why something is free (or below cost in the case of the playstation) and if the worst thing a corporation does to you is stop giving you something for free then maybe that's not quite evil.

But, hey, I'm a freak. I've been paying for email service for almost a decade.

(Speaking of which my provider, fastmail.fm, just got bought by opera!)

I can distinctly remember my pa sharing a bit of doggeral with me when I was about 10 or so: something for nothing he hoped to acquire, looking for ice in the blaze of a fire.
posted by Wood at 3:00 PM on April 30, 2010


the really great thing I enjoyed about lala was ..listening to entire albums at time. (well, only once for free) Show me a service where I can still do this please...
posted by thisisdrew at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2010


Wait, when did music start costing money on the internets?
posted by fuq at 4:45 PM on April 30, 2010


You can download a Lala desktop app that matches all the mp3s on your computer to see if they're in the Lala catalog. If so, you can listen to them online. If not, it uploads them.

It's hilarious that this functionality is exactly what made the RIAA shit bricks about mp3.com a decade ago.
posted by Jimbob at 4:57 PM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyone know how to use Spotify for more than 14 days in America? Or is that not kosher to ask about?
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:05 PM on April 30, 2010


I'm fascinated. What's that mean, exactly? Does that mean I can request the entire advertising dossier they've collected on me from my years of browsing on Google-Analytics-enabled sites (which would be totally amazing)? Or does it mean I can somehow download my archives from Gmail and Google Notebook and whatnot?

There is no explicit "dossier" on you per se; any personal data is stored as many little documents attached to an anonymized key, and engineers are not allowed to directly touch this data, they are only allowed to manipulate it using a special programming language that prevents any personally identifiable information from being revealed.

So what it means in practice is "anything you typed in or uploaded or received from a third party you can extract" - that means all your mail, documents and the like.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:11 PM on April 30, 2010


(I should add that they weren't entirely there yet when I worked there, but you can certainly get all your mail, your documents and many other things...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:12 PM on April 30, 2010


I thought Apple bought Lala because they had a vision to basically OWN online music the way Google owns online video (via YouTube). Once Lala is gone, I guess I'll just be back to finding music via YouTube and Pandora.

Missed opportunity for Apple, IMO.
posted by coolguymichael at 5:23 PM on April 30, 2010


Sleeping bear: "But the thing I'll miss most about lala will be its Music Mover. Whenever I downloaded an album from lala or emusic or amazon or mediafire and added it to my iTunes library, Music Mover would add it to my Lala library, so I could listen to it on any flash-enabled web browser."

This.

I'm really going to miss the automatic upload of all my iTunes songs to lala for immediate streaming. I have a huge list of songs on Lala that I listen to from the cloud that I haven't bought the mp3s for, so I'm going to be up shit's creek come June 1. Guess I'll see how much I get on my iTunes card and what I can buy back. Think I'm also going to check out Pandora and see what it offers.
posted by garnetgirl at 5:43 PM on April 30, 2010


The timing of this announcement seems completely off. If they're going to offer an equivalent in iTunes, it seems that it will be announced on June 1st; why not wait until then to tell LaLa customers that it's going away and avoid the month of uncertainty and switchers? It seems like a total PR blunder, particularly in light of all the other heat Apple is getting these days...
posted by Llama-Lime at 7:35 AM on May 1, 2010


« Older Lusty Lady Closing   |   "If you eat italian food in your mind you might go... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments