LaLa – Where Music Plays Until May 31, 2010

Sadly I read yesterday that Apple will be shutting down LaLa.com by far my favorite music site introduced to me by my good friend Pavel. There were lots of issues with the user interface of LaLa and many ways it could have been improved to make it more social and easier to connect with someone and or share thoughts on music that a connection suggested. But what I liked (and will miss) most is the fact that you could listen to an album, any album in its entirety first before buying it. After the first listening, you could only listen to a 30-second clip.

At that point, you had the choice of purchasing the web album for small change or the .mp3 album at rates much more reasonable than itunes. Their downloader put your .mp3 purchases directly into iTunes and uploader put your iTunes on LaLa so you could listen to your music from anywhere you had access to the Internet. A Classic Cloud Service, you could say.

When it was announced that Apple bought LaLa, I knew that there eventual plan was to take iTunes to the cloud but I thought for a while that they might keep the LaLa brand alive and invest in the improvement of its UI. Sadly, we found out yesterday that this is not the case.

What Will Apple Do With the Talent from Their $80m Acquisition?

Here are my hunches:

  • Take iTunes to the cloud and use some of the infrastructure build by LaLa
  • Create a cloud-only pricing structure but not one as sweet as LaLa’s
  • Keep current desk-top version of iTunes running but offer incentives for using a cloud-only version (I presume it would be cheaper to run and offer support for cloud-only)
  • Build a service that work with the cloud-service and the iPhone, perhaps one to compete with Spotify
  • Hopefully create a much better social interface for their web service, which will allow them to collect sentiment from users

Whatever they do, we surely won’t find out until they’re ready to tell us. But surely the rumors will be bountiful until then.

ReadWriteWeb Lists 5 Alternatives to LaLa that include Mp3Tunes, MOG, and Sockso. You can real about those alternatives here.

What do you think will happen?

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