Lala, the streaming, cloud-based music service familiar to anyone who’s googled a song in the last year or two, only to have a free Lala stream come back as the first result, is shutting down, reports Billboard. The service was bought by Apple in the waning months of 2009; after that, it was only a matter of time before Apple shut it down and directed the formerly independent company’s resources toward what will presumably be a new streaming, subscription-based service under the iTunes umbrella.
The move to shut down Lala and open an Apple-branded, web-based, subscription-friendly service comes as rival subscription services Rhapsody and Spotify have been stealing some of the iTunes customer base. As paidContent points out, iTunes already “has over 125 million user accounts with credit card numbers – convincing just some of its music lovers to subscription will be very easy, and flipping them from occasional, one-off payments to recurring debits of, say, $9.99 a month, could create yet another massive new income stream for Apple, which has already introduced recurring subscriptions to its mobile apps.”
Before you get too misty, realize that, as Maura Johnston notes–and this chart depicting the way musicians get paid off of streaming audio basically confirms– Lala never really did much as far as getting artists paid. iTunes, for all its evils, tends to do a better job with that. Lala will say a formal goodbye on May 31st; after that, you’re back to paying Steve Jobs directly, just like you already do for everything else. [Billboard, via the Daily Swarm]