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]