Apple takes a page out of the John D. Rockefeller playbook and shuts down Lala.
Back in the glory days of greed (really, today is nothing), John D. Rockefeller built Standard Oil by buying competitors and shutting them down -- or keeping them -- and raising prices. His actions were a major driver in the creation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which outlawed the practice of using monopoly power to limit competition. Steve Jobs and J. D. are birds of a feather, for after buying Lala, Jobs has opted to shut it down.
For those who don't know, Lala was a new kind of a new kind of music service and its business model was difficult to grock at first because it was so damn innovative -- not to mention unbelievable. In essence, Lala offered music in three ways: one-time full plays (after which you could only hear 30 second sample), MP3 downloads and, most innovative of all, web songs, for which you paid around $.04 and could stream anytime. But that wasn't all. Lala also allowed you to upload your entire music library and make it available for streaming to any device. Even this feature, though, was staggeringly well done, as Lala first compared the songs you wanted to upload with the songs already in Lala's data base, then only uploaded the ones Lala did not already have. Smart. Very smart. Lala even allowed you to post widgets to web sites (such as your blog) that would play songs in your Lala database. Unreal!
I took to Lala straightaway and happily bought a number of web songs, uploaded a lot of my library (especially bootlegs!) and even bought a few MP3s. When Apple first bought Lala, I was concerned, but I figured Apple would somehow integrate it into iTunes and at the very least allow me to keep what I had purchased. No such luck. As I understand it, Lala is history, full stop. Apple will credit the amount I have used to purchase web songs and refund unused money in my Lala Wallet (another cool Lala feature) as either a credit or a check (a tricky process, thanks the nanofont deployed by Apple to let you do this!) but that's it. My Lala library will be shut down and going forward Lala will no longer be a choice for me on the musical landscape.
I sincerely hope that someone at the federal level takes note of this goes after Apple for anti-competitive behavior. Lala was a blip to Apple's monopoly level share of the music download market, but so were those little mom and pop gas stations J. D. gobbled up.
Lala, I bid you farewell. Apple, you have given me one more reason to never use iTunes to purchase music again. Thank god Amazon is a FUCKING HUGE and not able to be bought and shut down so easily.