Tag Archives: lala

Amazon Jumps Into Streaming

The pool

Image via Wikipedia

There’s definitely a trend among online behemoths (like Google, Apple) to purchase hip streaming music platforms (like Simplify, Lala) as tools for an upcoming entree into the streaming music marketplace.

Now Amazon buys Amie Street, an online music store that focused on independent musicians and worked on a unique pricing model based on demand for a certain song and artist.

Amazon will be shutting down the service and reportedly focusing on Songza, a recommendation based streaming service purchased by Amie Street in 2008. Customers who have credit at Amie Street can use it before September 22.

The company was started by several students at Brown University in 2006. Amazon invested in them in 2007. They’ve been kind of struggling since then, trying to be innovative, and work with the big labels, and hold true to independents, and make some money.

So now Amazon joins in the race to launch the perfect streaming music platform. There’s plenty of room in the pool..

JL NOTES: There are some reporting that Amie Street founders will remain independent and working on Songza and that Amazon takes over only Amie Street the download platform.

Sony Will Stream Music Unlimited

Sony has announced that they will launch an online cloud based music service called Music Unlimited before the end of the year. The service will stream music to Sony’s TVs, Blu-ray players, and connected mobile devices, which will also be able to cache and store songs for offline listening as well.

Sony released the news on the same day that Apple announced its iTV and new version of iTunes, indicating their intention to compete head-on with the leader in the online music marketplace.

Cloud based music services that store music online and stream it on demand are the next coming for the digital music industry. Google is reportedly planning to release its own version before the end of the year, Apple purchased Lala with a similar intent, and several other services are already available.

Sony’s version, Music Unlimited, will include common playlist building features along with Sony’s SenseMe technology which can detect personal music preferences and suggest music based on those criteria. Music Unlimited is based on the Qriocity platform, Sony’s cloud based streaming delivery platform.

Lots of Talk About Digital Music Clouds

flickr: MiiiSH

Digital music buzz is all about cloud based streaming services these days. Apple bought Lala and Microsoft launched a new “entertainment vertical” for Bing that ties in full song streaming from Zune. Two weeks ago HP acquired Melodeo. And Google is supposedly readying a mobile music platform that will launch with Android 3 and include anywhere access, paid downloads and subscription aspects. The big tech companies seem to be scrambling to gain position in the cloud based streaming music space.

Meanwhile Forrester has released a report that finds that cloud based streaming on mobile devices is still more buzz than reality. The new study “360 Music Experiences: Use the Cloud to Target Device Use Orbits” focuses on the impact that cloud based services have on the devices consumers choose to listen on. 41.6% of Adults 18+ are still tied to their pc as their primary source of digital music. MP3 players ranked second at 32.5%, music-enabled phones at 12.1% and home streaming devices at 11.1%. Mobile access to music services through smartphone apps, while certainly an area of great activity, has yet to have a substantial impact.

Keep in mind that these findings are based on 3Q 2009 data, and many (but not all) cloud based services are either still in the works or have launched since then. But the report expects listeners to stick with a device of choice for cloud based streaming even with the option to listen anywhere on any connected device.

In addition to the question of what device listeners choose to listen with, there’s the issue of how the space will monetize. MOG, Rhapsody, Rdio, and others are betting on a subscription model that enables listeners to pay a monthly fee for on demand streaming. MSpot and MP3tunes offer storage space or “music lockers” for your personal music collection – free for small amounts of storage, monthly fees for larger amounts. Google will likely pursue an ad based strategy in keeping with its other platforms, while Apple may create a hybrid that expands on its iTunes (pay for downloads) brand, and incorporates its new mobile ad platform iAds.

Google to Simplify Mobile Streaming

Google has purchased Simplify Media, a software company that lets you easily share your music across the web, from desktop to mobile devices. The Simplify website is there, but largely inactive – you can no longer download the software, but it does explain that Simplify allows you to access music and photos from your devices (netbook, phone, desktop) without having to sync or download them, which is bound to involve a cloud server solution.

Reportedly, Google’s new mobile streaming music solution will enable multiple user platforms including iTunes, Windows Media Player and WinAmp. It appears that this will – at least initially – be a platform for Android, Google’s smartphone. Last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that 100,000 Android phones are getting activated daily, up from 60,000 in April.

This is an announcement that flies in the face of Apple’s recent purchase of Lala, another cloud based solution. Lala is also currently inactive but Apple will likely use the service to integrate a cloud based feature into iTunes to enable listeners to listen to their song library from whatever device they want access on at that moment.

Interesting stuff, this announcement. Google is selling streaming audio ads, often as an option in an overall integrated approach to advertising that can include audio, video, and display/search through Google AdSense. This is a platform that can extend the reach of the audio portion of that game and make it a more interesting play for advertisers. Which could bring more dollars into the streaming audio ad revenue ballpark…

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…

Apple Buys Streaming Service Lala

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.

Rumors About Google Music

google_logo_smallMy inbox was all about Google’s rumored new music service yesterday.

Early in the day Techcrunch wrote: Google will soon launch a music service, we’ve heard from multiple sources, and the company has spent the last several weeks securing content for the launch of the service from the major music labels. One source has referred to the new service as Google Audio.”

Later, Techcrunch modified their report with additional information that Google will partner with music services LaLa, iLike, and MySpace (which owns iLike), and that full details will be announced next week.

And still more from Techcrunch a little later: From information we’ve gathered from sources, the new service will be integrated into Google search. Users will be able to stream songs directly from Google via partners iLike and LaLa. Additional information around the music query will be provided to users as well.” They also reported that listeners will be able to purchase songs for download.

From all of that as well as stuff I got from a few contacts and some twitter watching, it looks to me like Google is getting in to the music game. I heard that what Google has planned will be good for the online music space and will be complementary to other offerings. I gather that Google will enable searches for music. It sounds like search results will feature music services LaLa and iLike, but I think that it might not just be those services that benefit, that maybe they’re just the first partners, beta partners per se. I assume that the vast amount of music on YouTube will play a big part in this, and I suspect they’ll be room for others as well.

For the rest, we may have to wait until October 28th…

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