A few months ago I heard a rumor that Apple was thinking about buying a music streaming site called lala.com. Well, I had never heard of it, so I spent the next few days checking it out. They have since acquired it (mainly to get the talented programmers folded into the iTunes team) but it is still up and running. You need to check it out too, and I'll tell you why. Do any of these things interest you?1. You can put your entire digital library online for FREE and listen to it from any computer.2. You can preview new music in its entirety rather than just a 30 second clip.3. You can buy streaming rights (they call it a "Web Song") to new music for one thin dime and listen via the web whenever you like.4. You can also download songs for 89 cents. 79 if you already own the Web Song.5. You can link to your friends and get/make suggestions about different music.6. You can make a playlist and embed that list onto any website where people can listen to the entire list (once) for FREE.Sound unique? It is, and clearly there are some ideas here that interest the likes of Apple. Who knows what Apple will decide to do with their new acquisition, but I decided to dive in.
I have to tell you, it's great having access to my entire library online. Lala has an app called the "Music Mover." Basically it looks at your collection and matches it to its licensed catalog. Anything they already have is linked to your account, and (here's the cool part) anything they don't have gets uploaded and hosted. No limitations, no cost. That is pretty sweet.The embedding feature is great. Recently my colleague and I embedded some recordings of pieces we are starting to work on in our rehearsals (example above). You can see the embeddable players on our website. This is a great way for the students to at least hear the music one time (after the full listen, they get the traditional 30 second clip). And of course if the kids want to purchase, it's only a dime for the streaming version. If you've been trying to convince your students to "do the right thing" by purchasing the recordings of the music you are working on at school, purchasing streams at one tenth the cost of mp3's is a pretty nice alternative.I think this Web Song idea has some promise. Think about it, for 100 bucks you can get 100 songs from iTunes, or you can get 1,000 Web Songs. Sometimes you might want the download, but I think the streaming version can be a great (and extremely economical) option. I don't know if Apple will keep the feature (or the site for that matter) but for now I'm finding it to be really helpful.Anyway, head on over to lala.com and check it out. I'm "Brian W." on lala if you want to look me up.