Apple Pulls the Plug on Lala, Replaces It With…Nada
Remember a month ago? When Apple announced that it would shutter Lala and everyone assumed that it was going to replace the streaming music service it bought in December with a streaming music service of its own?
Now Lala’s gone. Apple shut it down last night sometime after 2 am Eastern. And there’s nothing in its place. Just this message:
Free streaming music hasn’t completely left the Web: You can still get it at MySpace Music and in various forms at sites like GrooveShark and HypeMachine.
But the big music labels, which own a piece of MySpace Music, aren’t happy with this arrangement. And the other services are in a legal gray area–they’re not fully licensed, but the labels aren’t trying to sue them out of business, yet.
Meanwhile Spotify, which delights European music lovers with its free service, has yet to get permission to operate in the U.S. If it does, it’s almost certain to cut back on gratis tunes in favor of a subscription offering.
So what about a cloud-based model, whereby you access music you own from anywhere you can get a Web connection? Apple (AAPL) seems interested in the idea, and so does Google (GOOG). But I have a hunch we’re not going to see anything like this soon.
Still, maybe Steve Jobs has a surprise up his sleeve. Perhaps he’ll tip his hand tonight, when the Apple CEO sits down for an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D8. We’ll have live coverage beginning around 6 pm Pacific.