Apple close to acquiring digital-music service Lala, say sources

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Apple Blowout“Apple is close to acquiring digital-music service Lala, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions,” Greg Sandoval reports for CNET. “Talks are very advanced, said the sources Friday. One said that the sides have already agreed on terms and have only to sign a final agreement.”

“Lala is a streaming-music site that sells songs for 10 cents apiece and enables users to store their music libraries on the company’s servers… [Currently], Lala is not believed to be profitable,” Sandoval reports.

“Exactly what Apple intends to do with Lala remains unclear. Right now, Apple is the largest music store online or offline and has made more money than any other music service by selling downloads. CEO Steve Jobs could have plans to start a streaming service, but my sources told me Friday that Apple managers are very interested in working with Lala’s engineers, who have come up with ‘a payment and fulfillment system that could save Apple millions of dollars a year,'” Sandoval reports. “In addition, Apple wants Lala’s founder Bill Nguyen to come over as part of the acquisition, another source said.”

Sandoval reports, “If Apple is planning some kind of streaming service, the public has shown an appetite for the kind of streams that are free of charge and ad-supported.”

Full article here.

Adam Satariano and Connie Guglielmo report for Bloomberg, “The terms of the deal for privately held Lala weren’t known. The people declined to be identified because talks are still in progress. Investors in Palo Alto, California-based Lala include Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures and Ignition Partners in Bellevue, Washington.”

“Lala offers access to more than 8 million songs, including material from EMI Music, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group,” Satariano and Guglielmo report. “Apple offers more than 11 million songs through the iTunes store, which it opened in April 2003 and now operates in 23 countries. The company says it is the world’s largest music retailer.”

Satariano and Guglielmo report, “Facebook Inc., the world’s largest social network, announced in October a service that allows its users to buy music for their friends through Lala.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: In late October, Google launched music search with For example, if you google “Taylor Swift,” the first result is a listing of 4 full songs that you can listen to in a small pop up window (with a “Buy MP3” button) plus a link to more songs from We covered it here: Google launches music search with Lala and iLike – October 29, 2009. It’s not difficult to imagine that the Google-Lala tie-up are selling some tracks that way. Perhaps Apple has seen an impact from this Google deal which may be influencing this reported move on

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe J.” for the heads up.]


  1. @apelock

    Of course it is, they are just about to open a new data center. Once its complete they will need a streaming service once they let go of Akamai and Limelight Networks.

    Apple will put Bill Nguyen to work immediately in preparation for the new facilities content delivery.

  2. “[…] the public has shown an appetite for the kind of streams that are free of charge and ad-supported.”

    We have? Seems I missed this.

    So I could music streamed with brief interruptions for commercials? Sounds like radio.

  3. Apple is the king of the 99c transaction.

    Lala ‘sells’ access to web songs for a 10c each, and mp3 DL’s for 89c – and Warner is one of their funding partners.

    I don’t know how good the uptake at lala is for the dime a track streaming service, but perhaps Apple’s loves their iPhone app that’s been stuck in approval jail for months!

    preview it here:

    This play also keeps Apple squarely in the music game, as a lot of people think Apple isn’t a big part of music anymore. Those people will be proved wrong and as others above have mentioned, this technology could lend well towards a tablet/periodical type model. Maybe 10c is the new micropayment threshold.

    I use lala as a sampling service, since you can listen to most any song once for free in decent quality stereo. Or, a whole album for that matter… 30 sec clips after that.

    love the comment, Cubert!

  4. “”[…] the public has shown an appetite for the kind of streams that are free of charge and ad-supported.”

    We have? Seems I missed this.

    So I could music streamed with brief interruptions for commercials? Sounds like radio.”

    Allow me to introduce you to Youtube. Brace yourself.

  5. Yes, F**k Apple… Because they freely CHOSE to get into this, and the excuse is that they wanted the tech and the engineers. So they freely take on everything, including us customers, and we were all using lala mostly because we all HATE iTunes! For you’re information, had Lala gone belly up, we customers would have only blamed the record companies for feeding us lies concerning Lala’s health, since not more than two months ago the record companies were all beaming with delight over how well Lala was doing. But since Steve Jobs wants to stick his nose in and purchase this service, he now has to deal with us. If he decides he’s rather F**k all of us, then it’s his fault because he chose to purchase our accounts AND Screw us all over.

    So do us all a favor Crapple Fanbois: Back away from Steve, pull that iPhallus out of your ass and get a clue!

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