Apple will close down its recently-acquired LaLa.com service on May 31, the company revealed in a bried message posted on the streaming music service’s website. Existing users will be able to log in until the end of next month.
A January Wall Street Journal piece reported: “Apple also has been planning a revamp of its iTunes music service by creating a Web-based version of it that could launch as soon as June, say people familiar with the matter. Tentatively called iTunes.com, the service would allow customers to buy music without going through the specialized iTunes program on computers and iPhones.”
The iteration would also involve a move to populate sundry websites with iTunes purchase buttons, and to widen the level of integration between iTunes and popular internet radio shows and websites.
MP3.com founder Michael Robertson earlier this year claimed, “Leveraging its ubiquitous iTunes software Apple plans to upgrade their users almost over night to a cloud music service in an ambitious move to beat Amazon and others to a cloud music service.”
“What is of value is the personal music storage service which was an often overlooked component of Lala’s business.”
Competing service Spotify this week offered a virtual storage service in which music owners using that service could emulate their entire music library in the cloud.
Spotify’s stop-start move to open for business in the US (this has been planned for some time but has not taken place) suggests difficulty acquiring streaming music rights in the US. Could Apple, now officially the biggest US music retailer accounting for 25 percent of music sales, be leaning on labels to delay launch of its potential competitor, pending introduction of its own iTunes.com service?
That iTunes is heading to the cloud has been an open prediction for a very long time.
“We anticipate Apple’s plan may favour an all you can eat music subscription service that supports both a la carte downloads and unlimited music streaming. We seem to recall whispers to that effect this time last year,” we wrote last year.
Lala users who purchased Web songs for streaming will get iTunes credit for the total price of their Web song purchases over the last five years.