MP3.com, which was first geared towards independent musicians, but later also allowed you to listen to your own music collection online. Lala, which launched yesterday, features a similar concept. It is first and foremost a music store with a unique sales pitch: pay 10 cents for the right to listen to a song online and between 79 and 89 cents on top of that for the DRM-free MP3 file. For a lot of users, however, the fact that Lala also clones MP3.com's online music locker will be the real attraction of this service.If you have been on the Internet for long enough, you will surely remember the old
We had a chance to test Lala for a little while now, and we have come away thoroughly impressed with the service. Nothing Lala does is utterly new and only the pricing scheme is really innovative, but the execution and the mix of services is very well done, including the iTunes like interface of the music player.
Your Music on Lala
You do not have to upload your complete music collection to Lala to be able to play it online. Instead, you download a small desktop client that goes out and looks for music on your computer that Lala already knows, which it then simply puts into your playlist. If Lala doesn't know the song, or if the song hasn't been licensed by Lala, the desktop client will upload it to the service.
Once your music has been uploaded, you will be greeted with a standard music player interface, where you can drag and drop songs into playlists, search your collection (which is very fast and easy), shuffle through your songs, and pretty much do anything you expect to be able to do with a desktop jukebox as well.
The only major restriction of the online music player is that it only displays 50 songs per page. The quick and easy search function and the iTunes like browser at the top of the page make up for this is some ways, but if you are used to just browsing through your collection, Lala will take some getting used to.
The music store itself is interesting in its own right, though it is also derivative of its competitors. However, it comes with a number of interesting social features and, unlike in iTunes, you get one full play of every song before you are restricted to a 30 second sample. You can also buy the rights to play the song over the web for 10 cents.
Imeem already allow you to play songs in full on the net with fewer restrictions than Lala.There are, of course, already a fair number of stores that sell DRM-free MP3s, including Amazon and Rhapsody, while services like
Lala's real advantage over its online competitors is that it is a one-stop shop that already holds all your music. The pricing model is interesting and Lala will surely get a lot of 10 cent impulse buys, but the real power behind Lala is in its ability to bring all your music together in one place on the net, just like iTunes did for the desktop.