Apple: Catch Ya Lalater

Apple has announced that it will shut down on demand music streaming service Lala at the end of this month. Many believe this is the next obvious step to Apple’s launch of a web-based iTunes type service. Apple bought the service in December.

Lala’s offering is/was pretty neat. Listeners can have an unlimited number of one time listens to any song in their library of 8 million songs. For ten cents they can listen to that song on demand as many times as they want, or they can buy it for 79 cents.

This kind of cloud based offering must certainly be something Apple is planning, given their huge success with iPhone and recent launch of iPad. So even though some sources say there will be licensing snags between Apple and the record companies, I’m thinking there’s definitely an iTunes.com launch coming. I’m not thinking too hard about when or where, but I am wondering why they shuttered Lala now.

There’s a pretty intriguing game playing out with a whole bunch of streaming services that are shifting their models. Last.fm stops on demand streaming and Rhapsody opens their on demand streaming up to include actual downloaded playlists onto iPhones. Spotify, the long awaited on demand service, has still not even launched here in the US. If nothing else, this move by Apple seems to offer an advantage to Rhapsody, and a definite disadvantage to Lala’s listeners…

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