When we last checked in with Lala, the music service promised us access to our local collections from anywhere over the web. Using a unique combination of uploading and matching their collection to yours, you can sync your various libraries and listen to them any place where internet is available. Now they are back with some brand new features, including a vastly expanded catalog, an iPhone app and the unheard of 10-cent song. So how do they get away with it? Well, Lala assumes that you're doing most of your listening over the web—as a result, the songs that cost a dime are only playable through a browser, like Rhapsody in the olden days. If you want the DRM-free MP3 for your portable player (or whatever), you're looking at a more typical 89 to 99-cent sticker price. All songs in the 6 million+ track catalog can be sampled once for free before you commit to purchasing them, and the 10 cents for a web purchase can be credited toward your MP3 purchase, so it's not money lost. If you listen to most of your music sitting at the computer, and have qualms about stealing it, Lala may very well be a good way to go. It's like a soup made up of the best components of other online music services such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Pandora, and Last.fm. The site is appealing, the music recommendation engine is good, and there's some value in there. If you're the type of person who would add just one or two new songs per day to your personal playlist, this kind of a la carte pay system is a lot cheaper and more practical than Rhapsody. You can build up a nice collection for a few dollars a month, and you don't keep paying after you've amassed all the music you need.
Finally, web browsers and internet connectivity is becoming, if not already, the norm in smartphones, I mean "coms", and Lala plans to expand to meet this market. They already have an iPhone app in the approval process, which will play recommended songs and hopefully soon, your web library too. An app that acts like Simplify and Pandora together? It could be a real winner, but we'll reserve judgment till we see it in action. [Lala]
PALO ALTO, Calif., October 21, 2008 – Lala is unveiling the first and only free service to instantly provide anywhere Web access to an existing MP3 music library such as iTunes. Replacing the outdated approach of uploading MP3 files from a PC, Lala introduces a licensed technology to instantly match songs from consumers' personal music library with the Web-based catalog on lala.com. Adding new music to a collection is easier and less expensive than ever. Sample any full song or complete album for free. Add songs to a Web collection for only 10 cents, and buy DRM-free MP3 downloads for as low as an additional 79 cents. "We live our lives in a browser, whether it's emailing, watching television shows or using Facebook" said Geoff Ralston, CEO of Lala. "When I launched Yahoo! Mail few thought hundreds of millions would depend on Web email. My music belongs online in the same way. Will there be anything without a browser in 5 years?" Microsoft Explorer, FireFox, and Safari browsers on both Windows and Mac OS are supported. Major and Independent Labels Support All four major labels including EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group and publishers have licensed Lala with partnership agreements to stream and sell music online. And unlike ad-supported music sites, Lala has garnered support from over 170,000 independent labels and distributors. "We thank Lala for their support of A2IM and the independent music community and congratulate them on the launch of their new service which includes tens of thousands of independent artists, labels, aggregators and distributors," said Rich Bengloff, President of The American Association For Independent Music (A2IM). "As the primary advocacy group for the independent music community, we also applaud Lala for recognizing the value of independent labels and artists to their business and providing inclusion to the independent community in their launch." The Most Affordable Music on the Web Lala offers consumers the easiest, most affordable way to buy music on the Web. Lala's catalog includes over 6 million songs which users can play once for free before buying. For as little as 10 cents, users can buy a Websong, a new product that gives users the ability to play as often as they choose from their web collection. The Websong fee can be applied towards the purchase of the DRM-free MP3 version of the same track. MP3s are priced from 89 cents or 79 cents with a prior web song purchase. Unique Features of lala.com · Completely advertising free service · First and only fully licensed service for free Web hosting of a personal music library · Instant matching of MP3s and iTunes Fairplay songs to the Web without uploading · Fully featured web-application in a browser with speedy look-ahead search, drag and drop playlist creation, and instant, continuous music streaming · 6 million and growing song catalog · Free sampling of the entire catalog as songs or albums · Websongs available for purchase at 10 cents or less · DRM-free MP3s for additional price of 79 cents · Support of popular Web browsers including Windows Explorer, Firefox, and Safari · Support for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS · Catalog of all four major labels and publishers · Catalog of 170,000 independent labels