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Apple Acquires Streaming Music Service Lala Media

It appears the last minute reports of Apple's interest in streaming music company Lala media were true. Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are reporting that Apple has indeed acquired Lala Media.

Lala is a four year old startup company that offers customers streaming music not unlike the popular Pandora music service.

Lala's engineers have built a service that music enthusiasts say is very easy to use. Lala scans the hard drives of its users and creates an online music library that matches the user's collection, making it painless (and free) for people to get their music in the cloud.

Like Pandora, Lala's music is streamed from the internet rather than stored locally. This allowed users to listen to a catalog of over 7 million songs for free as a stream over the web -- much like internet radio. If you wanted to buy the right to listen to a particular song on demand an unlimited amount of times from the web, it would cost $.10. In order to permanently download the song to your hard drive or device, however, it would cost the more traditional $.79-$.89 per song.

Of the acquisition, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plan."

Apple's interest in Lala sparks a number of possibilities for the direction of the company. Pandora's iPhone app, in particular, has been enormously successful by allowing individually tailored music to be streamed over cellular and Wi-Fi connections. It's natural to believe that Apple may offer a competing service for the iPhone based on this acquisition or Apple could also use the technology to bolster their iTunes Genius recommendations with personalized streaming music.

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