updated 04:35 pm EST, Fri December 4, 2009
Apple Lala rumor hints at iTunes streaming
Apple may be on the verge of buying out streaming music site Lala, a leak indicated on Friday. The iTunes operator is understood to be in "very advanced" negotiations and may have even already agreed to all terms with only a formal signing needed to complete the deal. None of the companies involved have commented on the CNET rumor.
If put into practice, a takeover of Lala would give Apple the opportunity to launch a web-based streaming service for iTunes, either for samples or for full tracks. Apple has already made a partial dip into the web through iTunes 9, as the redesigned iTunes Store interface uses primarily web-based code rather than the proprietary techniques of iTunes 8 and earlier. The Cupertino firm already has a web preview feature that lets users see the title and track order, but not play songs, before they launch an iTunes link.
Its timing also puts Apple in the middle of a conflict between various web streaming outlets. MySpace recently bought iLike and iMeem, while iLike and Lala together form the backbone of Google's playable music search that provides streaming previews of tracks and on-the-spot purchases.
Lala currently operates as a traditional MP3 music store on top of its primarily ad-supported streaming and commonly sells individual tracks for 89 cents each.