Tuesday, October 21, 2008
a service that sells MP3s (DRM-free, natch) for 89 cents apiece and streaming-only versions of songs (”Web songs”) for a dime (which can be applied later to the purchase of an MP3).
Entire streaming “Web albums” are typically eighty cents. And most downloadable MP3 albums are aggressively priced–ones that go for $9.99 on iTunes are typically $7.49 on Lala, less than even the price-slashing Amazon.com download store charges. (Any download you buy includes a streaming version at no extra cost.)
A service that will let you listen to scads of new music without paying even that one thin dime per streaming track, since you can stream any song that Lala has – and it has millions, from the four major labels and 170,000 independents – for free the first time you listen.
New members get their first fifty Web songs for free.
A service which scans the music on your computer’s hard drive, identifies the songs, and puts them into your online library at Lala for free, so you can listen to them in any browser on any computer.
A social network that lets you discover new music by seeing what other folks are listening to, then listening yourself – again, for free if you’ve never heard a track before, and for a dime if you’ve listened once and haven’t already bought the Web version.
An iPhone application that lets you stream your entire music to your phone; as long as you’ve got an Internet connection, the effect is a little like having an iPod with infinite capacity. (The iPhone app isn’t available yet, but I saw a preview and liked it; the company says it’ll arrive soon.)
What’s impressive about Lala isn’t just the number of things it does, but how well it does them. I’ve been using it for a while, and it works exceptionally well. The browser-based interface for listening to your music mimics iTunes, and it’s easy to forget it’s Web-based: music starts with little or no delay, and keeps playing even if you browse around Lala or bop over to another browser tab or window.
Integration between Lala’s various features is nicely done – for instance, if you’re browsing albums for sale, Lala knows which songs you already have and doesn’t try to sell them to you again. Which makes it easy to complete albums which you own in partial form.
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Brett's 2p'orth: Sounds very, very good... but when I tried to sign up I got the following message... "Unfortunately, Lala is currently only available to people in the US. We are working feverishly to expand internationally, so please stay tuned." I will be checking back regularly.