“Apple Inc., the company that restructured the music industry around its iTunes service, is exploring an overhaul of the way it sells and stores music that is aimed at extending its influence to the Web, according to people briefed on the strategy,” Ethan Smith and Yukari Iwatani Kane report for The Wall Street Journal.
“The key vehicle for the move is Apple’s newly acquired music-streaming service La La Media Inc. for which Apple paid $85 million, according to people familiar with the matter,” Smith and Kane report.
MacDailyNews Take: $85 million, $80 million, $17 million, $3 million, whatever; any one of them is petty cash to Apple.
Smith and Kane continue, “Where Apple’s iTunes requires users to download music onto a specific computer, Lala.com lets users buy and listen to music through a Web browser, meaning its customers can access purchases from anywhere, as long as they are connected to the Internet. Apple is considering adopting that same model for songs sold on iTunes, a change that would give consumers more ways to access and manage their iTunes purchases—and wouldn’t require them to download Apple’s software or their purchases. That new business model extends Apple’s grip on the music business, giving it the ability to sell music through search engines and other Web sites and broaden its reach beyond people who come to its virtual store.”
“As part of the move, Lala executives have been given key positions helping shape music strategy for the iTunes Store, and some iTunes executives would report to them. ‘It’s our understanding that the Lala guys are going to be in very significant roles,’ says one person who has been briefed on Apple’s plans,” Smith and Kane report. “Some people familiar with Apple’s thinking cautioned the changes are in the early planning stages and could still be altered. But if the plans do go forward, these people said, Apple could start implementing them as soon as next year.”
Smith and Kane report, “In addition to selling music, Lala’s software also scans a user’s existing music library and matches its contents with songs on its own servers, then gives the user access to that music via a Web browser…. It is also possible that Apple would use Lala’s streaming technology as the basis for a subscription service, for which users would pay a flat rate in exchange for unlimited access to music.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]