What Lala Means for the Streaming Future of iTunes – iTunes – Gizmodo

It still seems strange, on the face of it. iTunes is the ginormousest force in digital music, beaming out billions of bits a day. Apple paid $80 million (maybe) for Lala, a streaming site you’ve never heard of. Why?

First, let’s look at what Lala is. (Or was.) It’s three things, really: A CD trading site (its original emphasis), a streaming site, where you can “upload” your own music and stream it anywhere (your collection is matched with what Lala’s got, and anything they don’t have is actually uploaded); and a streaming site that’ll let you stream a song once for free, or pay 10 cents to stream it an unlimited number of times. In other words, It’s a music service that's all about streaming and the cloud, both for the music you already own, and for finding and playing new music.

That obviously looks a lot different from iTunes—you pay for things, you download them, you have a library of stuff. It’s kind of a dated, restrictive model, really. Only being able to listen to the small slice of music that’s banked on my hard drive, it feels cramped and very 2004. Zune feels like a generation ahead with Zune Pass, which essentially expands my library ad infinitum, with full access to most of the service’s 6 million songs (plus I get to keep 10 a month, so the pass just about pays for itself). iTunes needs to refresh itself.

via What Lala Means for the Streaming Future of iTunes – iTunes – Gizmodo.

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