Apple’s recent purchase of Lala has many intriguing ramifications for Apple users.
Lala is a music site that lets users stream music. Lala scans your hard drive to see which music you already own. If songs match what is in their library, or you upload your tracks, you can listen to that music an unlimited amount through their web site. If you don’t own the tracks, you can listen to them once. After that you can buy a web version that can be streamed forever or “upgraded” to a downloadable version. The streaming component flies in the face of Apple’s “download-and-own-forever” model. Apple sees that music consumption may evolve and they are preparing for this change. It is unknown whether Apple will keep Lala’s current model or alter it to a “all-you-can-eat” subscription.
There is no way the Lala iPhone app sees the light of day, presuming that Lala isn’t kept as a separate service that is away from Apple’s ecosystem. Streaming content could be provided through the music app on the iPhone/iPod touch (and hopefully Apple’s potential tablet) with optional caching for offline playback. It would be nice to have downloadable music for iPods lacking WI-FI, with music files that time-expire. Syncing through iTunes could then verify service membership (i.e. once a month).
There have been endless debates on the value proposition of MobileMe, especially in light of alternative free services that can be combined to be similar to what MobileMe offers. Adding a streaming music service to MobileMe would increase its value significantly. I would assume that being a subscriber to Apple’s music service would not require being a MobileMe member.
It would be great to have my music stored in the cloud from anywhere with a Internet connection. Any Lala web site functionality will probably be rebranded as a Apple product and thus become iTunes in a browser.
Apple TV has not sold well. Coupling this music service with the proposed video subscription deal that could be occurring soon and I would be far more interested in getting an Apple TV. Content is king, and the variety and amount of music and video available will be key to increasing Apple TV’s popularity.
Many music services I have tried have left me wanting more. Hopefully Apple’s will have enough content to please me.