If the iTunes Store had an affair with Pandora, the resulting love child might look like Lala.com. Matt Geraghty over at the Razorfish Scatter/Gather blog points out Lala.com may revolutionize the music business. Yeah, we’ve been there before, but Lala has an interesting spin combining your human itch to own songs with your desire to grab music for free off the interwebs.
Lala basically gives you a tiered access structure — you can listen to any of 6 million songs online for free, but only once; you can buy a song for only 10 cents and play it anytime as long as you’re connected online; or you can purchase MP3s for download for 89 cents and take them anywhere. As a bonus, Lala will upload your current iTunes library into the cloud so you can access all the music you already own from any other device connected to the net.
Lala is a fascinating test of the psychology of ownership. Will consumers shill out a micropayment of 10 cents for quasi-owning a song that lives only online? The challenge for Lala is it’s not quite as good as free (illegal) music, and it’s not quite as portable as the buckish (legal) tunes we’re used to purchasing. Given the trend of teens to run around with mobile gadgets and expect a zero cost for digital content, the real audience for Lala may be fortysomething business types willing to build a nice office music collection for 20 bucks. We say, put some early U2 on the home page.