Lala.com will be shutting down on May 31 this year. The move comes after Apple’s purchase of the music streaming web site a few months back. Apple’s instant benefit from the purchase of the site was top-ranked results when users search for songs on Google. However, what Apple truly benefited from is the acquisition of a team that knows how to do music over the internet, or “in the cloud.”
When tech insiders speak of music in the cloud, they’re usually referring to an extension of the purchasing a song through a digital music store like Apple’s iTunes. Such a cloud-based service would ideally include storage of the song on the user’s computer but also access to that song from any number of devices connection to the internet. Put simply, you could buy a song on iTunes, you can play it on your computer, your iPod, iPhone as you can today plus over the internet on your friend’s computer, your computer at work or even your car.
That last bit is the interesting part and is where the wide open frontier of such services that haven’t yet appealed to the masses comes into play. If any company can convince consumers to go for such a model, the track record would suggest it’s Apple.
As far shuttering Lala.com goes, the timing is what’s interesting here. With their WWDC (that’s World-Wide Developer Conference) set for June 7, the May 31 shuttering of the Lala.com just a few days away. Likewise, this year’s WWDC could mark the launch of a new cloud-based strategy for Apple.
Given that, iTunes.com is much less about Apple re-branding Lala as iTunes, imitating the site’s model or launching a music subscription service in the vein of Rhapsody or Napster. What everyday consumers do want is to own their music collection and to access it where and when they want it. And by that, I mean their whole music collection, not just the few songs they can fit on an iPod or iPhone.
So, will this year’s WWDC mark just a new iteration of iTunes or the next generation of digital music itself? We’ll have to wait and see.
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