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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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October 23, 2008

Lala Land?

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Lala music service logo
My brother sent me an invite to sign up for the music streaming service "Lala". According to their promotion it's all kosher with the Cartel. You play a stream in your Web browser in a Flash plug-in (like Pandora and Last.fm).

I'm not terribly inclined to sign up for another service and was wondering if anyone had any experience with these guys?

They apparently have software that scans the music on your disk and adds songs it finds there to your online collection so you can stream them from the lala site into any browser. They claim to have licenses for about 6 million tracks, which is a pretty small sample when you consider the universe of all songs, but hey they're new.

You can also pay to add more songs. It appears to cost 10 cents for unlimited streams and if you buy the MP3 that 10 cents is credited toward the price of the download, which they claim is 89 cents and all DRM-free. They also have links to get you to purchase conventional CDs that they're reselling from labels and artists - prices on those are variable, as you'd expect.

There are the usual sorts of social features, where you can see and play samples from other peoples' song lists. They are also promoting the Twitter-like notion of "following" another person and discovering new music by watching what the followed person adds to his or her collection. There's also a points system for getting new people to sign up, getting them to follow you, and so on. Right now the points seem to be a pure popularity metric (they call it "influence") and don't seem to translate into anything beyond ego-boo.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies


COMMENTS

1. Gavin Baker on October 24, 2008 1:35 PM writes...

Grooveshark Lite is the same idea, and it's gratis (ad-supported).

Grooveshark may not be entirely kosher with the Cartel, but they have some labels on board, they're holding money for the others in an escrow fund, and they haven't been sued yet, so *shrug*

Permalink to Comment

2. bd on October 29, 2008 6:55 AM writes...

I also got an email from a friend about this service last week. After reading your post I decided to check it out. Thus far? Colour me impressed. Seriously.

The site is slickly laid out and runs pretty smoothly. I like the idea of scanning the music on my hard drive and making it available to play on the site from anywhere with my login. I got 50 song credits (for online songs) when I joined and got 5 more when a friend joined. It's editing feature works pretty smoothly. I've also purchased DRM-free mp3s from them. They downloaded quickly and I've cracked the files to find no traces of DRM anywhere. The titles they offer are extensive with some that you cannot purchase normally in the U.S., but not completest as I found several that weren't available.

The one glitch that I've found thus far is that their tool for matching songs online to those on your hard drive needed to be restarted from the beginning after a reboot.

If the cartel had begun this way rather than trying to criminalize people, then it would be in better shape today.

Permalink to Comment

3. drwex on October 30, 2008 8:39 AM writes...

Thanks for the report. My brother said their song matcher got about half the 9k tracks he has ripped to his hard disk.

Permalink to Comment

4. Thorsten Claus on November 20, 2008 8:59 PM writes...

Totally Awesome!
The interface - as already mentioned - works really well, and a "mini player" mode is in the works (so you don't take up all the browser real-estate or even could launch it in the sidebar).

Not only can I listen to lots of cool music, I can also mix in stuff I already have. The Lala Uploader dropped 35GB of my music into Lala land, with about 42% of the songs already in Lala often in better quality, a great backup option (though I have not tried to download them again, at least things are not lost).

The drawback is that there is no bookmark option of songs you like to listen to, unless you pay 10c to add them to your web-only playlist. But you can add an enormous amount of music to your queue and let that shuffle ;)

I would say about 80% of the stuff I like to listen is online, and it's completely free, so for me it's a win.

I still use OpenPandora because I get some new stuff up my ears from time to time without active discovery...

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