In line with the scheduled announcement that was made in late April, the online music streaming service LaLa Media was shut down permanently as of late yesterday. The company, which was acquired by Apple last year, seems to be making way for the anticipated iTunes.com: Apple’s cloud-based version of iTunes.
Now, in all honesty I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been expecting this for some time. Even before the announcement in April, almost everybody viewed Apple’s purchase of Lala.com with suspicious eyes – and the tech-magician that is Steve Jobs certainly did have another trick up his sleeve.
It is rumored that Apple have been turning to Lala employees for help in realizing the company’s answer to online music streaming services such as Spotify. Indeed, at the beginning of the year Michael Robertonson, the current CEO of MP3tunes, made the following statement in a guest column on TechCrunch:
An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user’s catalog into the net, making it available from any browser or net connected iPod/touch/tablet. The Lala upload technology will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade which will automatically be installed for the 100+ million iTunes users with a simple ‘An upgrade is available…’ notification dialogue box.
Excited? So am I. Robertonson predicts this change to appear within 2010 – and as it stands his prediction is right on course.
But until then current Lala users will undoubtably be at a loss. Refunds have been offered by the service, with the below message posted on the now-closed Lala.com website:
If you purchased web songs on Lala or had an outstanding wallet balance as of May 31st, 2010, an iTunes Store credit code will automatically be sent to your member email address no later than June 14th, 2010. Credit amounts will be based on your account activity as of May 31, 2010. iTunes Store credit amounts will be rounded up to the nearest $1 for refunds under $10, or to the nearest $5 for refunds greater than $10.
With the WWDC set to kick off next week, many are wondering whether Steve Jobs is going to give a nod of the head to iTunes.com – or at least a subtle mention. Besides the fourth-gen iPhone and OS 4.0, there’s room for another wonder to be presented. And Lala’s recent shutdown has happened in time for the conference.
You never know; it might just be Steve’s “one more thing”…