This was cool enough to get me blogging again. Bob Lefsetz on the Lala sale here, FYI.
My take on some of the implications:
I've been using lala.com for almost a year, and incredibly impressed with the sophistication of the service and the slick operation of the website. In the absence of a U.S. version of Spotify, Lala had the most advanced music streaming site, with, believe it or not, more functionality than the current iTunes desktop app.
Now imagine subscribing to the iTunes store (in addition to buying downloads) and being able to stream anything they offer wherever you are, in addition to having access to your entire existing iTunes collection on any browser or compatible mobile platform.
Apple could become your primary media vendor for music, video, movies, podcasts, and oh yeah...apps, games, multimedia periodicals (eBooks?) — one-stop shopping for all but the most rarified niches and foreign media.
The point about Spotify being more advanced I believe is because they use a P2P distribution engine plus conventional unicast streaming. In addition to its own data centers, Apple currently uses a conventional large CDN (Akamai) for some of its file, image and stream serving.
REINVENTING DIGITAL MEDIA: iTUNES LP & iTUNES EXTRAS
This doesn't sound like a big deal yet, give it a few years and a couple of Steve Jobs product launches and you might be hearing about it. Without much publicity, Apple just released two new digital multimedia interactive 'container' formats with support for UI features and navigation: iTunes LP — for digital music albums — can include any mix of text, music, video, images, interviews, links, etc.
- iTunes LP— for digital music albums — can include any mix of text, music, video, images, interviews, links, etc.
- iTunes EXTRAS — for digital movie/film/video "albums" — can include any number of value-added features: director's comments, additional scenes, review text, expanded credits, stills, etc.
iTunes (the app) is in fact a Webkit browser, so the kind of sophisticated graphics and functionality you have with the iTunes app gives you some example of what you can do with these new formats.
I just met an Apple in-house developer who worked on these products and was told that (at least to start) Apple will be the final assembly point for iTunes LP and Extras releases; they are building an online input platform for content creators to upload the components, which will then be assembled, reviewed by Apple to insure compliance to format standards, copyright, and perhaps? some moral standards to exclude porn, and released via the iTunes Store.
This is sure to cause another Apple übercontrol shitstorm in the blogosphere when it gets around. It will also insure a now typical Apple-quality user experience and product rollout. So you give and you get.Personally...the world may be going back to singles, but I've been waiting almost 10 years for a practical digital album format. So I'm happy to work with it, especially if it can be streamed on the HOS music service.