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Alternatives to iTunes: how 5 rival music services match up | ZDNet May 19, 2010

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets, Multimedia.
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How well do the current crop of online music services stack up against the iTunes Store?

When I did my inaugural round-up of iTunes alternative last year, I was looking for ways to avoid the high price of iTunes, and I succeeded. I found six rivals that offered significant savings—at least 10% and potentially much more. My criteria included services aimed at music lovers who want the option to buy music by the track or by the album. Several of the alternative services included interesting differentiating features, with the biggest being the all-you-can-listen-to subscription model.

I looked at three main factors: price, selection, and ease of use. To make price comparisons, I created a basket of 10 rock, folk, country, and classical albums, six recent releases and four back catalog choices from the previous century.

On price, iTunes was once again the most expensive, with the highest price for the collection. See the chart at right for details; the asterisk in the Cost column indicates that two of the five alternative services didn’t offer the entire selection of albums—Zune Marketplace was missing two and eMusic had only six of the ten albums on my list. To figure the total price tag for those two services. I calculated the cost of the missing albums using the prices from the iTunes store. Amazon MP3 and Lala offered significant savings over iTunes, with total savings of 11% and 20%, respectively. Rhapsody offered only trivial savings over Apple’s store, and the Zune prices were all over the map, with three albums costing more than their iTunes rivals.

Read the rest of this article via Alternatives to iTunes: how 5 rival music services match up | ZDNet.

P.S.: I’ll be back. China is behind me 😉

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Apple confirms Lala music service acquisition | Web Services | Playlist | Macworld December 11, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Apple has acquired online music streaming company Lala, the company said Monday, adding to the ways it could offer music to users.

via Apple confirms Lala music service acquisition | Web Services | Playlist | Macworld.

If Apple Acquires Lala: 3 Models for Service Integration – ReadWriteStart December 9, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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If the rumors are true, then something is afoot in the Apple music camp. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, Apple is in talks to acquire online music service Lala. If a sale is finalized between the two companies, a number of new music monetization models can emerge and with Apple holding the supply chain from devices to players to downloads, a streaming music component may prove devastating to others.

lala_screen_dec09a.jpg

Tiered Pricing: With a Lala purchase, Apple could easily employ a tiered pricing model for a streaming service. Users would continue to purchase streams on a per-song basis while also having the option to download songs through the iTunes store.

Full Subscription: In contrast to this model, Apple could also follow MOG’s lead and launch a full subscription service with links to purchase Apple downloads.

Full Subscription with Download Limit: And finally, different still, there’s the opportunity to employ Microsoft’s Zune Pass model. The company could offer a $15 dollar per month subscription streaming music service with the option for users to download their ten favorite songs per month to keep. If Apple decided on this route, downloads would still prove lucrative as users in excess of their download limits would be driven to iTunes for additional sales.

via If Apple Acquires Lala: 3 Models for Service Integration – ReadWriteStart.

Google’s Music Strategy – Search to Buy October 30, 2009

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In a very democratic fashion, Google announced partnership with most of the major online music services yesterday, to allow music searchers to “find and discover” music. Check out my colleague Mark Mulligan’s post on Google’s relevance to digital music from last week. The note worthy point about Google’s execution is how carefully it nudges searchers to buy music and not just stream it for free. The two main partners, Lala and iLike, that are getting premium placement by the play button, allow only limited streaming of the song. iLike lets you stream only some songs full length for the first time. After that users can only listen to 30 second sample of the song or buy an MP3. Lala also allows one free listen per song and then offers 10 cent Web singles or full MP3s.

The emphasis on search to buy and not search to stream free ad-supported songs is well placed. Music industry needs a viable alternative to iTunes, especially in the light of slowing iPod sales which have been the main driver of a la carte downloads. If anyone can pull that off its Google. Plus, the ad-supported streaming model is yet unproven. Youtube being the case in point.

Yahoo has had a similar partnership with Rhapsody for streaming but converting listeners to a la carte buyers is easier to do than converting them to subscribers. Lala’s 10 cent Web single is a great value proposition especially if their iPhone app is approved. iPhone users can then have a cloud-based music experience by spending only 10 cents on the song they like. Lala’s biggest hurdle now is getting those Google searchers to register and provide their credit card information.

via The Forrester Blog For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals.