Apple to Shut Down, Continue Sucking the Fun out of Music Discovery

Why must Apple crap on everything I love. First – the mp3 player gets abolished by big bro iPod. Now, – which I’ve participated in since Beta – is on a respirator for one more month before Apple officially pulls the plug. original logo apple eats
Apple’s acquisition of in late 2009, led to speculation that an online store — independent of the iTunes application platform — would take over the space. An — or iTunes in the cloud — if you will.

Lala’s humble beginning in 2006 was based on a business model involving the actual physical swapping of CDs through the mail. Or as they not-so-humbly declared at launch, “The Largest Record Store on Earth.” The site would be full of album covers and users would check “have” or “want” and then arrange to send and receive via Lala’s Netflix-like shipping envelopes, for $1 each.

As the tide turned decidedly away from CDs and toward digital music purchases, along with pressure and legal action from artists and labels, Lala launched 2.0 by 2008. The new Lala was a music “community” from which you could play, share, and discover music. Essentially taking the ultimate music store and putting it in the cloud with licenses for unlimited listens of songs and album at a fraction of what iTunes and Amazon charged – about 10 cents.’s valuation jumped to over $100 million by the end of 2009, aided by a $20 million investment by Warner Music Group. Warner dumped both Lala and iMeem in May 2009 citing losses of $33 million. Lala was acquired for an alleged $80-85 million by Apple in December 2009 (or as low as $17 million and even $3 million if you ask some).

Today Lala is integral to the music industry and serves up one of Billboard’s few weekly charts based on Web-plays and purchases.

On May 31th the service will be put down and customers who’ve enjoyed the fast rise and faster fall of the service are not too happy about it and now have until June 14th to apply for iTunes credits.

I wonder how many or the services that I listed on my September 2008 Socializing the Music Industry Guide even still exist. Here’s a list of alternatives posted at RWW today. I’m fortunate to be an early user of Spotify.

Personally, I’m still happy to buy CDs directly from the bands at their shows or from the labels. Otherwise I buy mp3’s at Amazon. Apple is evil.

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Continue reading “Apple to Shut Down, Continue Sucking the Fun out of Music Discovery” and 1991

Been having fun with lately — really straining to remember the tracks I’d repeatedly listen to back in the day — which for me was 1991, when I’d make a dozen mix tapes and rock out driving back and forth to high school, etc. I was 16 and there was nothing more liberating than driving around rockin’ out. is interesting. First of all, I was confused because I initially signed up for LaLa (under a diff username) when it served as middleman in a CD-swapping online network that never really took off. I traded one CD through the service (Billy Bragg for Swearing at Motorists) and continued to get occasional requests for a few CDs I was happy to part with (Prince 3121 anybody?) and finally closed that account now that LaLa has redefined itself as a legit music listening and sharing (via embed / recommendation / iTunes) social network.

I’m currently listening to this great interview with Paul Westerberg, circa 1986 on the release of Pleased to Meet Me. Westerberg is sounding drowsy, but is definitely at his rolling-stone-critics-poll loves me I’m a serious songwriter phase. He sloughs of the bands “firing” of Bob Stinson noting that he just can’t do stuff like “Nightclub Jitters.” Interviewer Roy Trakin mentions that Bob Dylan bought tickets for that night’s show… “It’s always weird, y’know…” says Paul. Fun chatter about “Alex Chilton” and what happened to Big Star, etc. He kinda likes the Coronas that everyone is throwing around these days, but his preference is Grolsch. Special Export better than Bud. Then your typical “I hate myself… I just don’t understand myself.” The band was making $750/month each according to Westerberg at that time. But the band did it for a good 10 years, and personally, I can never get enough of the ‘Mats.

In other news, I can’t stop listening to Screaming Trees Uncle Anesthesia. It was one of my favorite tapes of the early ’90s that nobody else seemed to be into (ironically, I had a similar experience with Smashing Pumpkins Gish at the time). Mark Lanegan’s voice was the real deal Still is.

Complaints about LaLa: big one here — the AJAX is a little screwy using Firefox 3.0.4 on Mac. I can’t copy the embed code to paste into this blog and I have a little trouble logging in — it often takes two tries for it to execute. Couldn’t copy / paste an embed code on Opera either. Or Safari. I’ve managed to put it on my Facebook profile (via the LaLa app) but that’s about it. I’ll embed this Westerberg Interview as soon as I figure out why I can’t successfully copy / paste the code!

Screaming Trees – “Bed of Roses”