Apple-acquired Lala ending service May 31, not starting replacing it any time soon

Screen shot 2010-05-02 at 8.48.15 AM

Streaming music service Lala, acquired by Apple back in early December, 2009, has sent a letter to subscribers telling them they're shutting down as of May 31, and while remaining credit will get transferred to iTunes, streaming music won't show up in an any time soon.

The Lala service will be shut down on May 31st.

In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple's iTunes Store. If you purchased and downloaded mp3 songs from Lala, those songs will continue to play as part of your local music library.

Remaining wallet balances and unredeemed gift cards will be converted to iTunes Store credit (or can be refunded upon request). Gift cards can be redeemed on Lala until May 31st.

Click here or visit for more information, or to view Lala's Terms of Service.

Thank you.


Rumors have persisted that Apple bought Lala for the talent, or for the lower-cost transaction system, or to take iTunes to the cloud. None of that has materialized so far, but speculation remains that Steve Jobs will drop hints of a Lala-inspired iTunes future at the All Things Digital Conference (where he's introduced a new version of iTunes before), or at WWDC 2010 alongside the 4th generation iPhone (iPhone HD/iPhone 4G) and the final version of iPhone OS 4. If not, Apple's traditional September iTunes and iPod event would be the next likely candidate.

That is, if music companies allow it.

MediaMemo reports that the record labels believe if iTunes users get streaming music to any and all of their devices, the labels deserve a bigger share of the revenue. (Because if I decided to play my CD in my car, in my home stereo, and in my portable while jogging, I had to pay more for that bit of plastic, right?)

While Apple could reasonably and probably legally argue the record labels are crazy and do anyway, it would "enrage" the labels and hurt Apple's efforts to expand TV and other content.

Maybe they could insist Apple create an iTunes++ where they charge us $2 a song for streaming rights. Given the drop in sales following their forcing Apple to raise the price of a "hit" song from $0.99 to $1.29, it would likely be a disaster for everyone, labels, consumers, and Apple. Which means it's probably just what they're trying to do, right?

[Lala and MediaMemo, thanks for the tip Russell!]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple-acquired Lala ending service May 31, not starting replacing it any time soon


Steve Jobs eliminating the competition? That's so unlike him, I thought he liked competition. /sarcasm
I'm not surprised, with Apple turning into Big Bother trying to eliminate any competition so they are the sole provider of what you want. I can't wait to buy Apple toilet paper at $50 a roll and wipe how Steve Jobs tells me. /more sarcasm
I wonder what Google (aka Skynet) is going to buy now in response to this.

Right from the beginning I figured Apple just wanted to get rid of them, and to buy Lala was the the fastest, easiest way!
If you can't compete with them, eliminate them!
Kick Butt

You can complain about Jobs' and his business practices all you want but this isn't China or the old Soviet Union. It's not like Jobs held a gun to Lala's head and said, "Sell or die!" Lala had a hand in this decision as well and they decided to sell it's customers out for the all mighty dollar.

Yep, Lala sold out its customers for the almighty dollar.
And that excuses the person buying and screwing those

Can someone explain to me what value there us to keeping all of your favorite music in the cloud? Whether it's Lala or, I'm not interested. I like having concrete music files. For the cloud-based bargain, Pandora works for me

@hmmmm AKA: afraid to leave real name
Nobody said anything about excusing Jobs from screwing the customer base. I'm not going to try and explain because you can't talk common sense to an idiot.
Just remember, son, the next time I say no onions on my burger, you had better get it right.

@ CJ. are you twelve? why would you want his real name? are you some pseudo tough-guy who gets tough on the Internet bc someone dared to challenge your point of view?

Burgerboy didn't challenge anything I had to say. He put words in my mouth.
I don't mind a different point of view. Throw it out there man. What I have a problem with people who put words in mine or any other person's mouth. I never said Jobs wasn't evil or had a glowing halo. In fact, I don't even like Apple as a whole but they make a great phone. All I'm saying is that Lala didn't have to sell out but they did. And never underestimate my ability to throw out a sarcastic remark to burgerboy or anybody else.
It's part of the business world. Not all business go into business to rise to the top and dominate. A lot of people go into business hoping they make enough noise for some company like M$, Apple, Google, HP will notice and offer then a large sum of money. It's nasty. It's ugly. Often the employees get shafted the CEO makes off with millions/billions of dollars. But like it or not, that's how business is done. Jobs is not the sole enemy here.
Is the logic that hard to follow?

@Macboy15 you're right, what was I thinking, Apple is closer to Germany under Hitler's rule.
I couldn't call them Skynet, Google is already there, especially since they're developing an artificial intelligence to help with searching the internet.

Lala had a great business plan, the talent to execute that plan, and the opportunity to cash in on it. This is Capitolisim at its best. Now that Jobs is in control that business plan is gone and welcome to Socialisim.

You guys know that u can stop apple right? Apple dint get where its at by itself we all helped they have a great product. If u dont like apple just buy something else companies are coming out with better stuff like every 2 or 3 months or just do what some do stick it to jobs and JB ur iphone/ipad and spread the
word i JB friends iphones all the time

Smh. Everyone wants more money at the WRONG time. People usually wasn't buying music and now a days buying music is not a prioritiy.
The lables are pushing people towards limewire and torrents.

Once upon a time there were two companies in computing. One had great software and lousy business sense and one had lousy software, bad programming standards and fantastic business sense. The one that had the bad programming won simply because of a little thing called licence. The bad system licenced to everybody and everything including a rat in Outer Siberia who did pretty well with the clones too.
Seems like they are acting on the bad business model finally, a tad to late and a tad annoying. I didn't choose Apple in the first place because I don't like the Itunes software which for some reason now acts a lot like the bad business one and wants to install server rights all over the place with software I will never use and have no use for like Bonjour [more like Maljour].
I liked Lala, I could play once to make sure it was the version I wanted and then buy and download to put on any MP3 player I desired well except Ipod had to do strange things when I put it on my Ipod shuffle. Next MP3 player isn't going to be an Apple because of this. Itunes is not getting my business. I don't give a rats tooth about cloud this or cloud that.
And of COURSE when a major computer company buys another that offers the time is short for the buy. Which might be why my newest computer is Ubuntu.

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