Well, Apple has shuttered LaLa, its streaming music service. The sign appeared early Tuesday morning, but while the closure comes as no surprise, what is unsettling is the dead air that replaces the web-based music application. What’s more, don’t bet the farm LaLa will be reborn as some streaming version of iTunes.
“I have a hunch we’re not going to see one soon,” opines Peter Kafka at the Wall Street Journal‘s All Things Digital. Although it could be just a teaser for Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ appearance tonight at the All Things Digital conference, Kafka notes web-based music services are on life support and the music industry’s legal eagles control the oxygen supply.
MySpace Music is still around, but that may be credited to music labels owning a piece of that action. Others, such as GrooveShark and HypeMachine operate in the grey areas somewhere between paying the labels licensing fees and a courtroom gavel.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced suggesting Apple would roll LaLa into a web-based iTunes to be called iTunes.com. The service would have the blessing of the music industry, plus leverage the existing customer base comfortable with buying tunes online. The reports were backed by Apple’s purchase of a North Carolina server farm capable of supporting a “cloud-based” music service and the roll-out of iTunes Preview, which let customers find music and listen to clips via a web interface.
Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference opens in a few days, a potential platform for the Cuperino, Calif. company to announce any plans for entering the streaming music business.
[via All Things Digital]