Late friday the New York Times reported that Apple had acquired online streaming music service Lala. Lala is a service that allows listeners to either buy and download songs for 79 and 89 cents, or stream the songs an unlimited number of times for 10 cents.
Apple obviously was not interested in the music download portion of Lala’s business, since they already have iTunes, the leader in that marketplace. What this acquisition gives them is a streaming platform, for listeners who prefer streaming music on demand rather than downloading and transferring music to personal devices.
Streaming music has become increasing popular with the growth of connected mobile devices. The growing popularity of streaming music from mobile devices has spurred interest in on-demand streaming from a music cloud that can be accessed anywhere from any device and is easier than downloading music and syncing with multiple devices. Some believe that cloud based streaming will eventually replace music downloading.
Apple appears to be at least hedging its bets with Lala – on the one hand, promoting cloud based streaming to replace downloads would hurt iTunes song sales, but give them a place in the on-demand streaming game.
Lala recently announced deals with Facebook and Google Music which promise to grow traffic and awareness of the service. The service had been reported to be in trouble financially. No word on the price that Apple paid on the deal.