Lights out at Lala - Apple shutters music service
Is iTunes' future cloudy?
Apple has shut down Lala, the cloudy online music service it acquired less than five months ago, reanimating the long-running rumor that an iTunes subscription service is right around the corner.
Lala's demise is no surprise. As soon as Lala began listing its address as 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, it was only a matter of time until its smarts and technology would be absorbed into the Jobsian borg, and its subscription-based service would bite the digital dust.
Tha-tha-tha-that's all, folks!
The site will go dark on May 31, but Lala subscribers - or "members," in Lalaspeak - won't be S.O.L. Apple will provide iTunes credit for money they've spent on the site - but, seeing as how Lala charged 10¢ a tune and iTunes songs run 69¢ (exceptionally rare), 99¢, or $1.29, there's hardly a one-to one correspondence.
For members with online-wallet balances or unredeemed gift cards, Apple is more generous, providing either full iTunes credit or simply a refund check.
Presumably, Apple and the erstwhile Lalalians are working behind the scenes to upgrade the iTunes Store - but don't automatically assume that the brains behind Lala will remain at 1 Infinite Loop. Remember, for example, that after Apple acquired chipmaker PA Semi back in 2008, its guiding lights bailed to create their own start-up - which Google bought just last week.
As expected, no one in Cupertino is talking about whether Apple is planning a subscription-based service in which your tunes, as did Lala's, will reside in the cloud. As comforting as it may be to have your own physical tune files on your own physical hard drive, a subscription service does have the unarguable advantage of allowing you to access all your tunes from all your devices - mobile, desktop, or otherwise (think car audio).
And remember that over in Catawba County, North Carolina, Apple's cloudy $1bn data center is inching closer to completion every day. ®
Lala began as a CD-swapping service back in 2006. Remember CDs? Round, shiny things that scratched easily?
I remember CDs
round shiny things where the music had some fidelity all the way to 11, as opposed to the crappy sounding MP3s out there now.
Apple, the Spoiled Brat of the Modern Tech Industry
Hooray for nothing, Apple has shut down a great service, and I for one cannot welcome their fascist approach to "Apple-ness" ^W Jobsian-ness - even occurring, as it most certainly does, in the free-market economy.
In my plain opinion, more Apple drones need to learn to think for themselves. Jobsian-ness and Fanboi Craze cannot sustain their company, forever -- things having so subjective a nature as those fads are naturally subject to change.
As far as the matters that were addressed, directly, with the article: At least there's still eMusic and Amazon.com MP3 service - in that specific order of affordability - for those of us actually trying to keep a legally purchased MP3 collection.
Lala used to fit in the middle, there, as far as what they charge(d) for most albums - a very close second ,in affordability - though ,in at least a few cases, Lala was more affordable than eMusic.
In any case, Lala tends (tended) to have a wider selection than eMusic, and - finally to the greatest value - it works on any platform that can support a web-browser.
Though, of course, their expert "Music Mover" application was not available for some more UNIX(TM)-like platforms, but individual song downloads worked, there, as well.
Lala's service was well built, and very well executed - up to the time they sold out to Apple, it seems. This wholesale absorption/termination move by Apple is hugely disappointing.
If I'd ever considered buying an Apple computer, that ends here - and I do believe I have already purchased what will have been my last iPod, and my last Jobs-branded computing device.
Not to "drama it up", but really, the last straw has now appeared on this desk - it was hanging above for quite some time, though, and here it falls.
Sink or swim, Apple, and fare the well on the changing seas of the free-market tech economy.
I'm by no means superhuman nor an audiophile (As far as I'm aware my hearing is not particularly acute and rather average), but I can definitely notice the difference between a decently encoded mp3 and "raw" digital audio. They sound flat and lifeless. Worse than a cassette tape in some cases, sans hiss. Mushy.
Of course, the way cds are mixed these days, most people wouldn't be able to hear the difference anyway given that the music they're listening to has been clipped and peaked until it has almost no range at all. It's like listening to a wall of noise. They might as well be badly compressed mp3s the way they're squashed and munged until there's no life left. Go search for "the loudness war" on youtube, you'll see what I'm talking about.