Traditionally secretive Apple is not talking about where it is on plans to offer a Lala-like service, after acquiring Lala last December:
Greg Sandoval, Apple’s plan for Lala cloudier than ever
But eight months after the acquisition, Apple is telling executives at the four top labels that if Apple offers any cloud music features within the next few months, they will likely be “modest in scope” and not include the kind of functionality that Apple outlined in meetings with the labels, such as storing users’ music on its servers, sources told CNET. They added that Apple still hasn’t negotiated the kind of licensing deals it would need to distribute music from the cloud.
Another puzzle piece that appears to be falling into place is the server farm Apple is building in North Carolina. Apple executives said last month following their most recent earnings report that the facility, which some have begun calling “the Orchard,” is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. Many in the media have speculated these servers will be the backbone for Apple’s cloud services.
Cloud storage could help overcome one of the roadblocks confronting Apple’s top gadgets. The iPad, iPod, and iPhone all have limited ability to store the films, e-books, apps, and songs Apple wants to sell owners of these devices. The cloud could help make hard drives irrelevant and help users avoid losing content that can occur when hard drives malfunction.
The delay in moving forward is likely the fallout from iPad and iPhone success. The explosion of interest in Apple mobile technologies has likely forced a reinterpretation of any earlier ideas about the Son of Lala. Formerly, the majority of attention had to have been on Mac OS, but the future is obviously swinging toward mobile operating platforms.
For this to make sense, real-time streaming and synchronization is more important than ever. And of course, given the relatively modest storage capacity of these devices, they have to get Amazon-sized cloud server farms up and running. “The Orchard” is a must for that to happen.
Meanwhile, I wonder what Apple’s plans are on making music a social experience? Sharing playlists is just the start of where this could go.
Perhaps Apple is going to make social interaction a fundamental aspect of next generation operating platforms, so that global user identities will be used for more than logging in, and actions like following people, and posting to your streamlings will be primary to the user experience, not implemented in a hundred incompatible ways by applications.
Alex Payne leaves Twitter to co-found banksimple, a new web bank business based in NYC.
LazyFeed *finally* follows a recommendation I gave them a year ago, and have reconfigured their app to allow users to publish streams, or ‘channels’, of information. Louis Gray has a more detailed write-up. Looks like they are trying to compete with Tumblr?
Jason Calacanis and a group of other angels funds ‘This Week In’ for $300K, launching a new live streaming web network. ‘Watching streaming shows on your iPad is the future,’ Jason says.
Rumors swirling about Apple’s plans for Lala — a streaming music service to rival Spotify. Lala.com is shutting down 31 May, and the San Francisco Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is June 7. Will we finally be getting a social iTunes?
Lala, unlike Apple’s iTunes, lets users play the music they own from the Web — or in tech industry parlance, from the cloud. If Apple introduces its own cloud-based streaming music service, it would let people skip having to download music they buy or synchronize their music collection between their computers and mobile devices.
A person’s music library would always be available on the Web and accessible on a PC, smartphone or other Web-connected mobile device.
Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, said the company “buys smaller technology companies all the time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans.” A Lala representative could not be reached. News of a possible deal was first reported earlier on Friday by Bloomberg News and CNet, a technology news site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am sure Apple is watching streaming music, the traction of Pandora, of course, and other streaming applications on the iPhone,” said David Goldberg, head of SurveyMonkey and the former general manager of Yahoo Music. “There’s a legitimate question here: Why should people have to download music?”
Other music industry insiders are wondering what Apple is buying exactly. Lala’s licenses for streaming music with the major music labels are not transferable to any acquirer, and its service has not been a hit with mainstream consumers.
Why is it that the stupid financial analysts can’t look at the application? The reason for this deal is to make iTunes social, not for the licenses to play clips.
Expect to see the Lala social stream become the dominant motif of a future iTunes. (Another prediction for 2010.)