The founder and former CEO of MP3.com thinks he knows why Apple bought digital music startup Lala.
Michael Robertson, writing a guest editorial at TechCrunch, believes that the House of Jobs — rather than implementing a long-rumored Pandora/Slacker/Napster-style music-subscription service to augment iTunes' per-song purchase plan — wants to actually move your entire music library into "the cloud:"
What is of value is the personal music storage service which was an
often overlooked component of Lala‚Äôs business. As Apple did with the
original iPods, Lala realized that any music solution must include
music already possessed by the user. The Lala setup process provides
software to store a personal music library online and then play it from
any web browser alongside web songs they vend. This technology plus the
engineering and management team is the true value of Lala to Apple.
Robertson is convinced that, armed with Lala's technology, the iTunes desktop paradigm of music-you-have-plus-music-you-want-to-buy is a switch-click away from becoming your own remote-access streaming-music jukebox. Remember: like Lala, iTunes technology itself was licensed, not developed in-house, which allowed it to be implemented on short notice. The result would be device- and region-independent access to your music that would tap into playback units both existing (iPods) and pending (iPads/iSlates/iTablets/iWhateverThey'reCallingIt), with no need for additional record-label licenses since it's the music you already purchased (you DID purchase it, right?).