Apple has confirmed that it has acquired streaming music service LaLa.com shortly after the company admitted that it was unlikely to reach profitability in the near future, despite having some big players backing it up.
The word that Apple has managed to pick up LaLa (and apparently has managed to do so for a shockingly low sum, if rumours are to be believed) has come as something of a shock, given that the company had essentially been on something of a winning streak. LaLa had, in a month, become the service powering some fairly massive different entries to the web-based music department.
To begin with, LaLa managed Facebook’s music service, which allows users to buy music for one another using the increasingly useful Facebook “Credits” system, which is essentially the service’s virtual currency. Given Facebook’s ubiquity, it might well have been assumed that LaLa was doing very well indeed out of that situation, but clearly Facebook Credits are no more popular anywhere else than they are in Ireland.
Similarly, LaLa announced a deal last month with Google to provide streaming music to its Google Music Onebox service, which would see users searching for a particular song by any artist presented with an option inside the Google Search window itself to stream that song. Clearly, that deal has done no more to improve LaLa’s lot, or, if it has, it’s not quite been enough to ensure that the service would see profitability in the near-future… and so LaLa has fallen into Apple’s hands.
The question now is, with LaLa out of the way, which of the manifold and various music services out there will step up to the plate and pick up its business. We wouldn’t be too surprised to see something like Spotify or Pandora try to soak up the business, especially given the fact that they both already boast solid standalone apps.
We’ll also be curious to see just whether or not Apple intends to launch anything like the services offered by LaLa, or if it simply intends to close the doors, which seems something of a silly move, but would certainly go some way to protecting the practical monopoly iTunes often seems to have on music when it comes to digital distribution.
Regardless, you can read more over at Cnet, which has an awful lot more detail on the deal.
Tags: apple, currency, digital, digital distribution, facebook, Facebook Credits, google, Google Music, Google Music Onebox, itunes, monetary, music, music service, Pandora, profitability, Rhapsody, spotify, web