Less than six months after acquiring digital music startup Lala for a some reported $85 million, Apple is pulling the service 5/31. “Lala is shutting down,” says the site’s homepage. “Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting new users.”
The service enabled consumers to access more than 8 million licensed songs for free, without ads or subscriptions–its streaming media model instead limited users to one listen for each song or album. Lala also sold unlimited plays of songs for 10 cents, or DRM-free MP3 downloads for 89 cents each–in addition, its Music Mover matched the songs on users’ computers to its catalog, adding tracks and playlists to Lala collections for free, reports Fierce Mobile Content.
An email sent overnight to Lala subscribers notes “In appreciation of your support over the last five years, you will receive a credit in the amount of your Lala web song purchases for use on Apple’s iTunes Store. If you purchased and downloaded MP3 songs from Lala, those songs will continue to play as part of your local music library. Remaining wallet balances and unredeemed gift cards will be converted to iTunes Store credit (or can be refunded upon request). Gift cards can be redeemed on Lala until May 31st.”
Apple acquired Lala in December 2009. The New York Times wrote Apple purchased Lala to acquire its engineering staff and their collective experience with cloud-based music services. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was planning to introduce a web-based version of iTunes as soon as this June. According to the story, people familiar with the project said the “iTunes.com” would enable consumers to purchase music without going through the iTunes program app via desktops and iPhones.