Understanding Apple and the future of Lala

Apple recently announced that they’ll be shuttering the doors of Lala, the music service they acquired back in December. This has prompted a lot of speculation over Apple’s motivations, up to and including the notion that Apple wants to take a competitor out of the market.

As always, the absence of short term clarity leads many to speculate on all sorts of nefarious things but I think that’s all wrong. As interesting as Lala was, there’s no evidence that it was a breakout service. Rather, if you look at world that’s moving more and more to the cloud for services and features, Lala technology makes a very good fit for a way that Apple can evolve iTunes from a store to purchase the digital single to something much more.

As phones and other connected devices become the defacto way to listen and consume content, new business model will need to evolve. The whole concept of “owning” music changes if I can listen to any song on any connected device that I own, there’s a different way to pay and monetize. Subscription services like Rhapsody are already adjusting their technology platforms and business models to reflect this. I’d expect no less from Apple as iTunes becomes more reflective of the connected world that we live in.

3 responses to “Understanding Apple and the future of Lala

  1. Eh, they probably bought the IP and talent and don’t care specifically about the product. But probably don’t mind one less potential competitor.

  2. good analysis, michael. i wanted to put my $.02 into the mix…i think there’s a lot that could be inferred by the move. it’ll surely be interesting to see how things play out.

    some people believe apple is set to make a major announcement at their conference in early june, but from what i’ve gathered, the record labels have not had super-serious conversations about adjusting towards a new service. it sounds like the process

    so why shut down lala in the meantime? what about all the second-party sites that have depended on lala to allow their followers to check out a song?

    they better be very careful with how everything plays out. myspace thought they had a steal when scooping up imeem for peanuts, but it blew up in their face with the negative feedback and anti-myspace sentiments.

    sidenote: for any of those music enthusiasts that will be looking for a new home, we’ve been building http://GoRankEm.com for you to rank all your favorite songs from your favorite artists. with our youtube tie-in, it’s become my personal greatest hits collection on demand, any time i want: http://gorankem.com/users/2 :)

    -adam

  3. Is it in the recorded music industry’s interest to have Apple move from being the dominant al-la-carte music service to the dominant music subscription service as well? What would the cross-border competition/monopoly law issues be on a global level for such a situation? What will be the effects on new potential entrants to the market and investment in them?
    http://www.themusicvoid.com/2010/05/apple-itunes-entering-the-music-subscription-market/

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