Apple Bought Lala To Shut It Down?

I’ve been a pretty harsh critic of Lala over the years. The company was long on hype and short on substance with its ever changing business model. First it was a CD swapping service. Then it was a free streaming music service. Then it was an iTunes-in-the-cloud. Still, the final product was decent, and with a bit of work could take on Spotify in the market. When Apple swooped in and bought Lala late last year, many people got excited over the possibility of Apple creating its own streaming music service that really could be seamless.

Instead, it looks like Apple bought Lala to shut it down. Just five months or so after purchasing it, Apple has announced that Lala will be closing at the end of May, pissing off lots of users. Now, it’s entirely possible (or even likely) that Apple is timing the shutdown with a launch of a totally new streaming iTunes-in-the-cloud type service, but it does seem weird to buy a company and shut it down so quickly, and raises questions of whether or not the purchase was really about building out Apple’s offerings, or about shutting down a nascent competitor just before Apple launched its own version. Also, if the plan is to launch its own version, why “shut down” Lala? Why not just transfer them over to the new service?

In the meantime, Spotify still hasn’t launched in the US, but you would think that now might be a good time to step in and sign up disgruntled Lala listeners — before Apple really enters the market…

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