It has been four years since Lala, a digital music streaming service, premiered. The company will soon be releasing a new iPhone app that will let users stream music from their smartphone. The Lala app provides another fierce competitor in the music app world by offering a set of strengths unique to the Lala platform. First, if you already have the song in your iTunes library there is no need for to sync your iPhone or upload your library. Lala members can use their free Music Mover software to verify the songs you own and synchronize them into your Lala cloud-based library to be made available for streaming anytime (internet connection required- signup is free). This however is only the beginning; the iPhone app will make tapping into Lala’s original service of music streaming a portable luxury.
With over 8.5 million tracks in their library, users can stream any song in its entirety for free one time, and if they decide they want to add it to their Lala library, a mere 10 cent one-time charge will give users the ability to stream that song indefinitely. With this option it almost seems silly to take up storage space on your mobile device just to tote around a portion of your music library, and even sillier to waste the minutes it takes to download a song from iTunes, rather than the mere seconds it takes to stream from Lala. The best part is your digital library can hold up to 40,000 songs, and once a song is streamed once, it is immediately cached- eliminating any latency that may have occurred in the initial stream. Of course, Lala’s bitrates for streaming are considerably lower than MP3’s- 32 kbps per second as opposed to most common rate of 128kbps for MP3s. But the quality of streams is becoming better all the time. As mobile networks continue get faster, bitrates will significantly improve enough that the quality difference will become inaudible.
For now, if users prefer a higher quality track, or just the ability to own a file, Lala also sells MP3 downloads for 89 cents, creating potential competition with iTunes. The Lala app is currently pending Apple’s approval but its release is expected sometime in mid-November. Co-founder Bill Nguyen warns, “We may not give that [app] away forever. But we will in the beginning.” It seems that if you want to be able to listen to your entire music collection on your phone for free you better keep and eye out for this app’s premiere.
By Katy Eggleton