Saturday, May 1, 2010

Apple shuttering Lala online music streaming service, hints at iTunes streaming music service

If you’ve been hoping for Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to jump on the streaming music bandwagon, this latest bit of news should be an encouraging sign of things to come. Apple has just announced that it will be shuttering the doors to its recently-acquired Lala online streaming music service. The move is sending waves of speculation reverberating around the blogosphere, whipping up rumors of a cloud-based iTunes streaming music feature into a frothy mess.

Apple announced their acquisition of Lala late last year, giving many streaming music fans hope of an iTunes-based online music option from Apple. The feature would put Apple in direct competition with online music services like Spotify, Thumbplay and Rhapsody.

Some had even hoped that Apple would announce the feature alongside the iPad unveiling. That didn’t happen. Today’s news, however, is the most encouraging sign of a streaming music service brewing in Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. The iPhone maker has already gotten its feet wet with the cloud-based MobileMe service – which syncs and manages your contacts, calendar and email from the web – and is widely believed to be readying some sort of internet-based feature for their iTunes ecosystem.

Even more encouraging than the Lala shutdown announcement is Apple announcement that current members with unused credits in their Lala accounts will have those credits automatically transferred to their iTunes account for use in the iTunes store. If that doesn’t point to an iTunes-based streaming music service, we don’t know what does.

As it stands, Lala is no longer accepting new member signups. Apple says it will take the service offline on May 31st, giving current users time to prepare to have their cloud-music addiction interrupted for an indefinite length of time.

What say you? Would you want/use a cloud-based iTunes music service? We’re sure some of you out there have music libraries larger than the 32GB iPhone 3GS can hold. Would the ability to store all that music in the cloud and wirelessly stream songs at will be enough to convince you to sign up for the service? What if it costs more than Lala? Let us know in the comments below!

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