By Harry McCracken | Friday, October 23, 2009 at 11:26 am
A little over a year ago, I wrote about Lala’s extremely nifty music service and mentioned a version for the iPhone which the company said would be available soon. I couldn’t wait to use it…but “soon” never arrived.
But it sounds like “soon” may come…soon. Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk reports that Lala expects its iPhone app to be available in the iTunes App Store by the end of the year. It’s contingent on Apple approving it, of course, and I can’t quite tell from Eliot’s story whether Lala has already submitted the app or just expects to do so shortly. But it sounds like it’s Lala for the iPhone with all the goodness I saw back in 2008: The ability to buy streaming-only songs for a dime apiece and downloadable ones at cheap prices–and to stream music that’s already in your library from Lala’s servers for free.
Lala told Wired that the app will also cache the last few hundred songs you’ve listened to on the iPhone, which would help address the one major limitation of music streaming: It doesn’t work when your device isn’t connected.
Lala’s been in the news a lot this week: On Wednesday, it announced an app that lets Facebook users give Lala music to their pals, and it has news coming next week that reportedly involves its music showing up in Google results.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a music service that’ll make everybody happy all the time–at least not until someone comes up with one that lets you stream or download all the music you want and keep it forever for free. But between iTunes and Sirius XM and Rhapsody and Slacker and Pandora and umpteen other services, iPhone owners have access to more music via more types of services than users of any other handheld device. Now if Apple would just make it possible to listen to music delivered via non-Apple apps in the background while you’re using other apps…