Lala Relalaunches–Again–In Hopes Of Winning Over Lost Music Streamers

Oct 21st, 2008 // 5 Comments

The newest incarnation of Lala, the online music destination that was a CD trading post before becoming a “music locker” site, hopes to position the site as an iTunes rival of sorts. The site’s just-launched media player has the ability to sync to your present music library, and from there it recommends to you “web songs”–fully streamable songs priced at ten cents–in addition to DRM-free MP3s (which are priced at around 90 cents a pop). Songs have been licensed from all four majors, as well as a bunch of indies; the full-song preview function is limited to one play, but that one play does put iTunes’ 30-second clips to shame. (Just imagine what new dimensions hearing the whole song will lend to “Sinnerman”!)

In theory, the new Lala is a great idea. Users are allegedly able to stream their music from a central server, giving the freedom to listen from multiple computers and web-enabled mobile phones. But that freedom, of course, comes with a price: syncing my 5,700-song library so I could run Lala’s recommendation engine was going to take 12 hours, according to the uploading software. I didn’t have the time for that, and neither did my computer; I had to shut down the uploader and then restart to keep my processor from having a panic attack.

I don’t have an iPhone, so the ability to stream my music library online isn’t giving me a nerd boner. The only other reason I might need a site like Lala was to play my music on a work computer, but I carry my iPod with me wherever I go. At the end of the day, it seems like Lala is a cute little idea, but one that isn’t necessary, especially given the amount of time it takes to set up a music collection. And until the company can manage to get MTV’s LaLa signed on as a spokeswoman, there won’t be much drawing me back to the site.

Lala [Official site]

  1. Chris Molanphy

    I’m going to reserve judgment on this until I play with it some more. So far it seems like the best approach anyone’s come up with for streaming music at a price.

  2. Rob Murphy

    Ironically, Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography is “not yet available for online listening”, so if you want to hear “La La”, you have to buy the MP3.

  3. Rob Murphy

    @Rob Murphy: Sorry, link:


  4. moomintroll

    The great part about this is the full song preview. I’m always baffled that iTunes chooses the least distinguishable 30 seconds of a song as their snippet.

  5. DeeW

    I’ve come around to liking this site a lot. I only have a measly iPod Nano, so all of my music won’t fit onto my little device to carry them all with me. It helps me get through work without having to listen to the drone of the office machines too much. I just choose to follow someone I like and then I can listen to all of their songs once for free. Ad-free radio!

    Uploading 22.5 gigabytes of music was absolutely brutal! Though, I’m guessing Lala didn’t have to upload all of it: They check for matches on their site and only upload the ones they don’t have.

    I think they’re also banking on a lot of people buying 10 cents streams of the song and only downloading the ones you absolutely want to listen to forever and ever to your computer. Works for me! Of the 22.5 gigs of music I own, I’m sure I haven’t listened to over half of the songs in a couple of years.

    Also, the pricing is really nice! It’s much cheaper than iTunes – and often (but not always) cheaper than The variable pricing scheme really works for them: I’ve gotten several songs for only 79 cents, compared to 89 cents on AmazonMP3 and 99 cents on iTunes.

    @moomintroll: Unfortunately, the iTunes Store hasn’t innovated on the music front in years. Why should they? They’re The King :(

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