Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lala. (Updated)

Many of you may have noticed on my last couple of reviews I've added a "Listen at Lala" link at the end. For those who haven't heard, has relaunched itself and in the process might be the most exciting thing in online music since eMusic and iTunes. Create a free account, and you can listen to any disc it has (most of the majors and a considerable amount of independent, CD Baby-type stuff) once in its entirety for free. After that, you can buy a stream of any track for 10 cents, which lets you listen to it online as many times as you want (You get 50 free permanent streams for signing up before you have to start spending a dime). Like the other services, you can still buy the mp3 for less than a dollar if you prefer.

The other cool aspect of it is that you can use it as a digital locker for your online music collection; you can download a small app that scans your music collection and either matches the tracks in their own database or uploads the tracks they don't have to their server so that you can listen to it all from any computer. They use an iTunes-like interface to manage this, and it's pretty neat. They're also on the verge of releasing a iPhone app that will let you stream your collection.

The big catch, though, is that it's available in the U.S. only at the present time. The upshot of it for this site is that any time I review a disc they have, you'll have the opportunity to listen to it one time all the way through for free, which is a big deal especially now that CD Baby has cut the samples on its site for new discs from 2 minutes to 29 seconds due to ASCAP/BMI licensing issues. CD Baby is still the best place to buy if you want the physical disc and/or to see the artist get paid, but Lala is now the best place to sample.

UPDATE: They have a "forecast" feature which allows you to select four songs that you can have anyone listen to, and if you look to the right, you'll see mine. I plan on featuring 4 songs that either strike my fancy at the moment and/or come from discs I recently reviewed.

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