Rotten? Apple Acquires Lala

Much of my listening to music, particularly new music, involves Lala these days. Paying a buck to stream an album an unlimited number of times is a good deal, particularly since I can sample (i.e. stream once) before paying anything.

So I was interested in the rumor that Lala would be acquired by Apple. Brad Stone of the NY Times reports that the rumor has come true.

One person with knowledge of the deal, but who was not authorized to discuss it, said that the negotiations originated when Lala executives concluded that their prospects for turning a profit in the short term were dim…

This person said Apple would primarily be buying Lala’s engineers, including its energetic co-founder Bill Nguyen, and their experience with cloud-based music services.

Lala’s engineers have built a service that music enthusiasts say is very easy to use. Lala scans the hard drives of its users and creates an online music library that matches the user’s collection, making it painless (and free) for people to get their music in the cloud.

The reason I regard the news as rotten is that “Lala’s licenses for streaming music with the major music labels are not transferable to any acquirer.” So the streaming rights for which I’ve paid may go away. That said, they’d also go away if Lala went under, and I considered the possibility of that happening when I decided to buy the streaming rights. Jason at TechCrunch hopes that such purchases will be grandfathered, but we’ll have to wait and see.

It may well be time to look at other streaming services…

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