Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy in Lala-land

Just signed up (a few days ago, anyway) for the service Lala. This is an online music service similar, at first glance, to Pandora, which I have now loved for years. Lala, though, may be my new best friend. Pandora plays you a kind of personalized, web radio station based on songs, artists or genres you select. Which is cool. I've discovered a few new artists that way. But, to be truthful, each individual "station" ends up being somewhat repetitive after awhile.

Lala will put together a music set for you, too... but the real distinction of the service is the ability to "upload" your at-home collection to "the cloud." What that means, functionally, is that Lala searches your hard-drive for your songs, matches them to their library, and then lets you play those songs that match from any browser, anywere. Of my 1,500-ish songs, Lala matched about 1,200.  Now... don't fret. They don't actually upload all those songs (which would take days). They just, automatchically, figure out that, "Hey... Andy's got the 'White Album.' He can listen to that online, too."

That is just plain, freakin' cool. For one thing, I can now listen to my entire library at work, or on my wee, lil' netbook computer from any room in the house, rather than just on my PC. Nice, nice, nice.

The way they sell new music, too, is pretty cool. You can listen to any track, for free, in its entirety, once. After that, you can pay fairly standard retail-freight for downloadble MP3s ($.60-$1.25/song) -- which, of course, can then be listend to from your Lala account. Or you can buy the right to listen to the song as many times as you want on Lala (they call this the "web song" version) for about 1/10th the price. So, for example, an entire MP3 album mist cost you $8-10, but the "web album" only 89-cents. A great deal, yes... assuming Lala doesn't go belly-up and take your subscription pennies with it.

Signing up gets you 50 "web song" credits, though. So that's my current incentive to play around, find new stuff, add it to my collection and get more addicted.

I like the model. It's clever. And I *really* like being able to listen to songs I've already bought from any Web connection.

Two A-sharps for Lala.

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