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Music Media Your Rights Online

Would You Rent a Song For a Dime? 580

Posted by kdawson
from the twenty-million-says-you-will dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What's worse than a padlocking every song so that they will only play on certain devices? How about selling (renting) you songs that work on no devices? Astonishingly, this is what the music industry thinks we need. Warner Music is spending $20 million to back Lala, a startup devising a service to convince people to 'buy' 'web songs' for 10 cents each; these are then kept for safekeeping only by Lala with no download privileges. Industry insider Michael Robertson leaks the facts on this scheme, along with a seekrit URL so you can try it out."
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Would You Rent a Song For a Dime?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:34PM (#23563411)
    I would rent a song for a dime if you would lick my balls for a quarter.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:44PM (#23563563)
      It's easier than what the RIAA makes us do for two and a half songs.
    • by antek9 (305362) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:21PM (#23564069)
      Def.: the Slashdot Effect: Look here, a secret URL [lala.com] I just found, but shhh, don't go there and don't tell anyone!

      One Question for Miss Morissette: Slashdotting a music service that is essentially nothing but a denial of service (a.k.a. sham), which effectively puts it out of service for a while, is that

      a.) ironic, or

      b.) a self-fulfilling prophesy?

    • by phat_cartman (1255042) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @08:04PM (#23565099)
      Once I ate 5 pennies, and shit a nickel.
    • by markalot (67322) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @08:08PM (#23565125)
      I hope this makes it to the top.

      Most of the information here is just plain wrong, I think Robertson is afraid of something. If you mostly listen online then instead of buying a song for 99 cents you can get it for 10 cents. If you really want to buy it you have to pay 79 cents more for a high quality DRM free MP3 copy.

      So please, why is this so bad?

      From the how it works page:

      What does adding a web song to my collection mean?

      When you add a web song to your collection, you're able to listen to it as many times as you'd like, from any computer. You can also create playlists with web songs.

      How much does adding cost?

      It costs 10 cents to add a web song to your collection. Plus, the first 50 web songs you add to your collection are free, so give it a try!

      If you later decide that you also want to get the MP3, the 10 cents you paid for the web song will be applied towards that purchase.

      What is the bitrate of a web song that I add to my collection?

      We strive to maintain a streaming bitrate standard of 128 kbps for web songs added to your collection. As determined by the labels, some web songs you add to your collection may stream at a bitrate of 64 kbps. Songs that you upload will generally stream at the bitrate at which they were ripped.

      How do I listen to the web songs I've added to my collection on a portable device?

      To listen to web songs you've added to your collection on an iPod or other portable device, you can download the MP3 file for an additional charge. The 10 cents you've already invested toward this purchase will be deducted from the final MP3 price.
      • by WK2 (1072560) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @08:45PM (#23565465) Homepage
        That can't be. It's reasonable, but involves one of the Big Four record labels.
      • by gsslay (807818) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @04:22AM (#23568061)
        Sounds like a very reasonable way of promoting and selling music. You get to hear a song as much as you like for 10 cents, if you like it enough you get to take it away, DRM free, for another 79 cents.

        Of course, this is just the kind of marketing that kdawson doesn't want to hear about. Much easier to continue whining about the nasty record companies not giving customers what they want, and forcing people to file share.
  • Imaginary Property (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:36PM (#23563433) Journal
    So now we're meant to pay ten cents for the right to imagine we have imaginary property?
    • by mrbluze (1034940) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:42PM (#23563529) Journal

      So now we're meant to pay ten cents for the right to imagine we have imaginary property?
      I think they are anticipating the death of radio, which is essentially the same thing except they determine what kind of rubbish you listen to in between the ads. Here you get to pay 10c per song to choose what kind of rubbish you want to listen to whilst (probably) having to read ads anyway.
      • by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:23PM (#23564107) Journal
        So if we pay per song, aside form the obvious distraction of having to make all of our own song playlists (radio pays people for that same job) we also get to pay about $2.00 per hour for the rental of songs. Between commuting and the work day, let's call that ten hours of rental radio, $20 per day. So by the end of the second week you could have purchased a href=http://shop.sirius.com/edealinv/servlet/ExecMacro?nurl=control/StoreDirectory.vm&ctl_nbr=2640&catLevel=1&catParentID=7874&scId=7874&oldParentID=7870>satellite radio and had the same thing minus the hour a day of lost productivity while you fiddle with your playlist.
        • by zenslug (542549) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:58PM (#23564497) Homepage
          I think it really depends on how you listen to your music. A lot of people like to listen to a rolling window of the same 100 songs. It grows and changes over time, but you get hooked on a new band or a new album, and you want to hear that for a while. You pay 10 cents (or upload your own) and then you're set. This isn't for everyone, that's for sure.
    • by Unending (1164935) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:47PM (#23563613)
      it looks like they are offering the songs in MP3 format for 89Â... I'm not sure, but I think the summary isn't giving the full picture.
    • by QRDeNameland (873957) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:47PM (#23563617)
      As long as it's an imaginary ten cents...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      So now we're meant to pay ten cents for the right to imagine we have imaginary property?
      There are plenty of programs out there that can snatch streaming audio/video from an embedded flash object.

      I wonder what the quality of the audio is?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        From my experience using Audacity (for non-commercial music that I didn't want to hunt to download, so you can back off RIAA inquisitors), if you save it in a lossless format there is little difference, but if you try to encode it as MP3 or OGG at any but the highest bitrates, the quality noticeably suffers.
    • by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:49PM (#23563639) Homepage Journal
      Imagine there's no Lala,

      And paying for is to buy.
      No Warner below us,
      Above us, metro wi-fi
      Imagine all the artists
      Getting paid the full amount.

      Imagine there's no IP
      Nor music tax for you
      Nothng to lawsuit over
      And no Sony too
      Imagine all the people
      Owning what they have

      You may say I'm unAmerican
      And your lawyer's just begun
      I hope someday you'll .torrent
      And the world will be as one.

      • by willyhill (965620) <pr8wak@gma i l . com> on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:55PM (#23563729) Homepage Journal
        Completely offtopic here, but the other day I overheard the 14-year old daughter of a friend of mine remarking on what a beautiful song David Archuleta had written to sing in American Idol, and how he should have, like, totally won the competition if only for that.

        I excused myself, went to the bathroom upstairs and laughed uncontrollably into a towel (to muffle the sound) for about five minutes.

        • *laughs* (Score:5, Funny)

          by OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) * on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:01PM (#23563805) Homepage Journal
          I wish I had mod points for you two. For $0.10 apiece you can pretend I modded you up.
          • Re:*laughs* (Score:5, Funny)

            by mrbluze (1034940) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:07PM (#23563883) Journal

            I wish I had mod points for you two. For $0.10 apiece you can pretend I modded you up.
            Mod Point Rule #1: The Mod Point Fairy only gives you mod points when you don't want them.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by NoobixCube (1133473)
              It seems whenever I get mod points, Slashdot gets a whole week of nothing but interesting stories that I want to comment on (as opposed to the interesting stories I don't want to comment on...). I have nine points right now, and there are so many comments I want to mod up, but I commented early in the thread.
        • by AtariKee (455870) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:02PM (#23563821)
          These are the kids that will be running the country soon. I would have suffocated myself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by exley (221867)
          Hey, give the kid the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she's unaware of the premise of American Idol, and furthermore she clearly doesn't know the song was written by someone else. This wouls show that she's ignorant of both TV and pop music, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like, totally!
        • I would have vomited out of my eyeballs in anguish....

          Still, that is freakin' funny. A 14 year old watching American Idol.... BWAHAHAHHA! Doesn't she know it's a kids show?
        • by idonthack (883680) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @07:01PM (#23564539)
          Next time, do them a favor and laugh in their face.
        • by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @05:48AM (#23568419)
          You haven't really experienced "Imagine" until you've heard it in the original Klingon.
      • mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

        by globaljustin (574257)
        i don't have any mod points this week otherwise I would...well in...seems like /. has had so many posts about the music industry bending over backwards to do anything but the right thing, it's almost like there's nothing more to say.

        apropo of nothing...Sometimes I hate iTunes, other times I love it. The reasons to hate it are obvious, but I always remember what digital music was like before iTunes. Haphazard at best. Labels wouldn't even consider selling songs online, and the quality of what was availabl
    • by ReverendLoki (663861) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:56PM (#23563735)

      We so need to organize a protest at this one diner near where I work. They have the audacity to "rent" songs for a whole quarter a song (or 5 for $1), for just one listen! If I'm paying for it, I want the right to my song, dammit!

      Look, I'm all for actually owning the digital music you buy, but I think we're jumping on this for the wrong reason. It's not so much that they are ripping us off of our rights (which they aren't), as it is a stupid business model. There are so many other, better legal alternatives out there, I don't see this one flying.

      • by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:08PM (#23563911) Journal
        There's a difference between the jukebox at the diner (played for public consumption) and playback in one's home, car, bike, etc (played for private consumption). The intention is the differentiating factor: even if you can hear it outside the house, it's intended primarily for the people in the house, and therefore a private playback.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It's not *intention* that's the difference, it's *enforceability*. In general, people only pay for goods and services that they cannot or will not make for themselves.

          If you're at a diner, then dragging in your own jukebox and playing from that is not possible, because the owners of the premise will object and throw you out. So you can't fill the airwaves with your own music at a diner, and paying for it on the diner's jukebox is the next best thing. But the crucial point is that the owners of the diner a

  • by Palmyst (1065142) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:36PM (#23563441)
    If you can listen, you can save, and it won't be long before a hack for that is posted on slashdot.
    • Buy a 7-dollar cable from Radio Shack and route the Headphone Jack directly into the Microphone jack on your computer (or use 2 computers - how many Slashdot readers really only have one computer?) and then use a free program like Audacity to record it and make an instant, non-DRMed MP3, OGG, etc. 10 cents is not a bad price.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      However, the quality of the vast majority of streaming music that's available online is not good enough for anyone who cares about what they listen to.

      There are these services that are popping up left and right that enable you to download music from youtube (it basically rips the audio out of the FLV files and makes an mp3 that you can download or just creates a playlist of the video files without displaying the video for you to stream from your browser). I hate those things because the quality of youtube (
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maglor_83 (856254)

        how can they expect us to pay [anything] for such inferior quality?
        Because the vast majority of people find such inferior quality completely acceptable.
  • Harrumph (Score:5, Funny)

    by RollingThunder (88952) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:38PM (#23563463)
    Music Search: nerdcore

    Sorry, no matches for you.


    Sorry, no business for you.
  • by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:38PM (#23563469) Homepage Journal
    They are only "locked" if people don't record the analog output from the computer.

    How many people really want music that can only be played from the internet? For some people this would work, sure.

    Apparently they don't think many people like iPods and other portable music players.
  • by pirodude (54707) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:39PM (#23563479) Homepage
    So they're letting you listen to a digital copy one time? Time to start firing up the flash ripper and start scraping the site. Chances are they're not sticking stupid DRM or watermarking in their own 'secure' player.

    Granted having your entire music collection in fla is annoying, you can probably can convert it to something a little more usable.

    Sounds like a great source for large volumes of music.
    • by pirodude (54707) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:47PM (#23563615) Homepage
      http://next.lala.com/api/AutoComplete/songAutoComplete?prefix=bt [lala.com]

      Pass URL encoded downloadToken to:

      http://next.lala.com/api/Player/getTrackUrls?flash=true&webSrc=lala&widgetId=LalaHeadlessPlayer&T= [lala.com]

      url gives you the mp3 url, it's not a full mp3, sounds backwards, but it's a start to downloading from them.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:16PM (#23563999)
        To expand on that previous finding, here's a script that lets you download any song you want:

        #!/usr/bin/perl

        use strict;
        use LWP::Simple;
        use Data::Dumper;
        use JSON;
        $|=1;

        die "$0 <search param>" unless $ARGV[0];
        my $root_url = "http://next.lala.com/api/AutoComplete/songAutoComplete";
        my $content = get "$root_url?prefix=$ARGV[0]";
        my $ref = from_json($content);
        my $num = 0;
        foreach (@{$ref->{data}->{list}}) {
          print "$num : $_->{artist} - $_->{title}\n";
          $num++;
        }
        print "Download which? > ";
        my $req = <STDIN>;
        die "not valid" if ($req < 0 or $req > $num);
        my $download_url = "http://next.lala.com/api/Player/getTrackUrls?flash=true&webSrc=lala&widgetId=LalaHeadlessPlayer&T=" . $ref->{data}->{list}->[$req]->{playToken};
        my $play_url = get $download_url;
        my $play_ref = from_json($play_url);
        my $download_link = $play_ref->{data}->[0]->{url};
        print "Getting: $download_link\n";
        my $filename = $ref->{data}->{list}->[$req]->{artist} ."-" . $ref->{data}->{list}->[$req]->{title} . ".mp3";
        print "Downloading to $filename\n";
        system("wget -O '$filename' $download_link");

        It's quick, it's dirty, but it works:

        perl download.pl tiesto
        0 : Tiesto - Ten Seconds Before Sunrise
        1 : Ti&#195;&#171;sto - Forever Today
        Download which? > 0
        Getting: http://cfs-listen-52.lala.com/contentfs/content?t=NjU1MzVVNDM2OTE1OQ%3D%3D-vSOzDPPcV8VwbKW6Bwdv%2FQ%3D%3D
        Downloading to Tiesto-Ten Seconds Before Sunrise.mp3
        --2008-05-27 18:16:09--  http://cfs-listen-52.lala.com/contentfs/content?t=NjU1MzVVNDM2OTE1OQ%3D%3D-vSOzDPPcV8VwbKW6Bwdv%2FQ%3D%3D
        Resolving cfs-listen-52.lala.com... 209.237.235.158
        Connecting to cfs-listen-52.lala.com|209.237.235.158|:80... connected.
        HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
        Length: 3609494 (3.4M) [audio/x-mpeg]
        Saving to: `Tiesto-Ten Seconds Before Sunrise.mp3'
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @07:34PM (#23564837)
          Here's a better version that gets many more results from a different webservice.  Apparently the front page one is very limited:

          This one will do paging, use n/p to go next/previous  when prompted.

          #!/usr/bin/perl

          use strict;
          use LWP::Simple;
          use Data::Dumper;
          use JSON;
          $|=1;

          die "$0 <search param>" unless $ARGV[0];
          my $ref;
          my $offset;
          my $req;
          while(1) {
            $req = "";
            my $root_url = "http://next.lala.com/api/SearchUtils/search/v19.110.0-24?Q=$ARGV[0]&sortKey=relevance&sortDir=desc&Nb=100&Sk=$offset&webSrc=lala";
            my $content = get $root_url;
            $content =~ s/new Date\((\d+)\)/$1/g;
            $ref = from_json($content);

            my $num = 0;
            foreach (@{$ref->{data}->{songs}->{list}}) {
              print "$num : $_->{artist} - $_->{title}\n";
              $num++;
            }

            print "Download which? > ";
            chomp($req = <STDIN>);
            if ($req =~ /n/) {
              $offset+=100;
              next;
            }
            if ($req =~ /p/) {
              $offset-=100;
              $offset=0 if $offset<0;
              next;
            }
            if ($req !~ /\d+/ or $req < 0 or $req > $num) {
              print "Invalid!\n";
              next;
            }
            last;
          }
          my $download_url = "http://next.lala.com/api/Player/getTrackUrls?flash=true&webSrc=lala&widgetId=LalaHeadlessPlayer&T=" . $ref->{data}->{songs}->{list}->[$req]->{playToken};
          my $play_url = get $download_url;
          my $play_ref = from_json($play_url);
          my $download_link = $play_ref->{data}->[0]->{url};
          print "Getting: $download_link\n";
          my $filename = $ref->{data}->{list}->[$req]->{artist} ."-" . $ref->{data}->{list}->[$req]->{title} . ".mp3";
          print "Downloading to $filename\n";
          system("wget -O '$filename' $download_link");
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by pirodude (54707)
            Crap didn't test,
            replace the $filename line with

            my $filename = $ref->{data}->{songs}->{list}->[$req]->{artist} ."-" . $ref->{data}->{songs}->{list}->[$req]->{title} . ".mp3";
  • What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by willyhill (965620) <pr8wak@gma i l . com> on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:39PM (#23563483) Homepage Journal
    The website clearly says "Get MP3s for your iPod". Is the submission incorrect, or is there a catch to said MP3s? Because the submission clearly states that anything from Lala won't play on any devices. That was the whole point of posting this here for people to be outraged, I imagine.
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:55PM (#23563717)
      From http://next.lala.com/#howitworks :

      Want MP3 downloads?
      You can buy DRM-free MP3s for your iPod or other portable device for just 79 [cents] more.
      So, it's a lot like Amazon MP3 but with a "trial version" feature, except you have to pay for the trial.

      Also, my CAPTCHA is "patents". How apropos.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dirk (87083)
        Does no one actually bother to check things out before they post? The 10 cents is for the ability to stream the song from their site as many times and as often as you want (as long as they are in business). For a dime, you have access to the song online as much as you want. For the extra 79 cents, you can then download it and keep it on your MP3 player (just like iTunes or Amazon).

        To me, this seems like a damn good idea. The more be become connected, the more there isn't much difference between online a
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IP_Troll (1097511) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:59PM (#23563783)
      I believe this "submission" a way to get people on the site so that lala can tell their investors "We had 1 million hits within one day of launch."

      Slashdot fell for it and is now giving a never heard of site massive traffic which will appear positive to investors.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tripmine (1160123)
        So what? This site is a stupid idea. If they go ahead with it just because of the slashdot effect, boy will they be in for a surprise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by woodrad (1091201)
        Don't worry, /. readers usually don't click the links in the summary. There is too much danger of accidentally reading the article.
      • by Attaturk (695988) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:58PM (#23564493) Homepage

        I believe this "submission" a way to get people on the site so that lala can tell their investors "We had 1 million hits within one day of launch."

        Slashdot fell for it and is now giving a never heard of site massive traffic which will appear positive to investors.
        You're quite right. But on the upside Slashdot also hacked the proposed service within minutes [slashdot.org], after tearing the idea to pieces. Hopefully this might also tell the investors something about the company's business model and its viability. Even if a wee hack like that one isn't immediately obvious, plenty of people have pointed out that there's a speaker jack in your computer. Plug it in to anything from an ancient cassette recorder up to a modern mulitmedia PC and you can just record it with one button press or click. Surely even 'analysts' can see that. Daft idea. Daft business model. Protecting content - especially 'small content' such as songs or low def video - is a mug's game in this day and age.
  • Eh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:41PM (#23563511) Homepage Journal
    I don't hate the idea... so long it isn't the only way to obtain music. Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head and I only want to hear it once or twice, then forget about it for another few years. That's worth the $0.20 so that I don't have to hunt for a torrent or other file sharing media... and wait. But make no mistake; This is no alternative for being able to purchase a whole, unencumbered album that I can listen to indefinitely.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Idbar (1034346)
      As far as I understood, you can hear it once with no charge, then you have to pay to put it in your locker and listen to it as many times you want.

      Although, I think the idea is not bad at all, I believe is way ahead of its time for one reason:
      I could use my cellphone (smartphone, iphone like) and listen music over internet, but I'd need an Internet plan. That's not a problem for people using iPhones, but they will certainly prefer to use iTunes. I don't know about the rest.
      If I'm not able to listen to my
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jalefkowit (101585)

      Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head and I only want to hear it once or twice, then forget about it for another few years.

      What you want is last.fm [www.last.fm] -- you can listen to any song up to 3 times a day for free. Any more than that and you have to subscribe. Not great for heavy listening, but perfect for when you get a sudden jones.

      (Note: not all songs are available for free listening on last.fm yet. They're in the process of moving their whole library to the free-play model, but it'll take some time to

  • Every permutation... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:42PM (#23563519) Homepage Journal
    Every conceivable permutation of DRM restrictions has to be tried and failed until the barely-chordates in the music industry will realize it's a terminally flawed business model.

    I imagine the schemes will become more and more elaborate, more and more draconian, and more and more amusing for those of us who've had a new thought since the compact disc was invented.

    I'm very happy with mindawn.com and emusic.com, and physical CD purchases for those other things I "just gotta have". Everyone else can take a flying leap.

    I will just sit back and enjoy watching the churn.
  • by blhack (921171) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:43PM (#23563539)
    Click here [imeem.com]

    Unlimited free music with links to purchase it if you want. 100% legal. 100% major labels. Tons of obscure stuff too.
  • i like Rhapsody (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:43PM (#23563553) Homepage Journal
    Ok, so, I don't like this idea, as many people here will agree- it's just another sign that the labels are out of touch with reality.

    That being said- I would like to point out that it's already a losing model with something like Rhapsody in existance, which, btw, I absolutely could not live without! (Thanks to my new Squeezebox Duet, per recommendation of the slashdot crowd. thanks guys!)

    Anyway, my point is this: They're late to catch on. Nobody will pay 10 cents to listen to a computer. Listening on the comp should be free, people want to and will pay to take it with them. That being said, 89 cent mp3s are a good idea, this might gain ground.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shark72 (702619)

      What if lala were to magically appear on your Duet's screen? That would equalize the playing field a little more. Depending on how bit your Rhapsody library is, it might save you money in the long run to use lala. You're already paying a rental fee to listen to Rhapsody on your Duet; the key difference is that Rhapsody is $14 a month for all you can eat, while lala is a la carte rental.

      Much of my music listening is ephemeral. I recently added the new Donna Summer album to my Rhapsody library (it's actuall

  • by D'Sphitz (699604) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:44PM (#23563561) Journal
    It's not that people won't pay for music, most people would happily pay for high quality DRM free music, but they don't want to offer that. They'd rather come up with stupid schemes like this. This crap isn't worth a dime when I can get the same songs for free in a much more friendly format.
    • It's not that people won't pay for music, most people would happily pay for high quality DRM free music, but they don't want to offer that. They'd rather come up with stupid schemes like this.

      1998 called, it wants its rant back.

      Want high quality DRM free music? Here you go [amazon.com]. Non-DRMed MP3 files, VBR-encoded with LAME (average bit rate 256kpbs), for $0.89 each. They even fill out the ID3 tags for you (including album art, for pete's sake) so you can just drop it into your music player of choice and go.

      I agree Lala sucks, but the days when you could claim some moral legitimacy for leeching music torrents are over. There's really no justification for "getting it for free" anymore when there are completely legal, easy, and geek-friendly ways to get the music that also puts some money in the artist's pocket.

  • by QRDeNameland (873957) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:45PM (#23563593)

    I thought I had heard of Lala before.

    Sure enough, Lala [wikipedia.org] started as a physical CD trading website. I remember reading about this and wondered what I was missing about their business model.

    Judging from this, I don't think they knew either.

  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:52PM (#23563673) Homepage
    My major objection to DRM on music I buy is simple: if there is DRM on it, I don't really own it.

    If I am renting the music in the first place, DRM doesn't bother me so much. Exhibit A is the Rhapsody online music service, which is essentially a flat-rate music rental service. I have discovered that I like Rhapsody very much. I am finding new bands that I like, bands I had never heard of before, much faster than before I had Rhapsody.

    Depending on what you get, Rhapsody is $12 to $15 per month. If this plan really is a dime per track, that's a cheaper rental than Rhapsody. The big question is coverage. If the new plan only lets me rent the latest pop acts, I'm just not interested. (Rhapsody has over 4 million tracks, including all sorts of cool things: Herbie Mann flute albums, Bill Cosby comedy albums, progressive rock, etc.)

    When Rhapsody helps me music I really like, I then go and buy the music on CD, so that I will really own it. I'd be happy to do the same thing with this new service.

    Will the service succeed? I'd say that depends very much on the specifics. How do you pay them that dime per track? If they have a convenient way to add dimes to your account, such as selling gift cards in Best Buy, it might become wildly popular; if you have to jump through a bunch of hoops (agree to a 20-page EULA, pre-register, enter a valid credit card number, pre-pay in $30 chunks, etc.) most people will just say no.

    Assuming it's convenient, would I "rent" a song for ten cents? Sure. Why not?

    steveha

    Disclaimer: I work for the company that owns Rhapsody, but it's not my job to sell it to you or anyone else.
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @05:53PM (#23563695)
    But they have Men without Pants [lala.com]

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:03PM (#23563831)
    I think other reviewers pretty much hit the nail on the head when they say that price is not really the issue. That said, I don't really like the idea of having to use a client to access the music off of a site. For one, you're dependant on the reliability of the media server. For another, you are banking on the fact that the client won't create a root kit for an intruder to gain access to your machine. Obviously, making a tcp or udp connection to the media server pokes all kinds of holes in a firewall. So, I Warner can keep its 10 cent music. It would cost me way more than 10 cents to fix a computer that has been rooted and assimilated into a bot net.
  • Cracking the "DRM" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Captain Perspicuous (899892) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:05PM (#23563853)
    Anybody interested in finding out how to get those tracks for free? Turns out these are mp3s, downloaded normally over http. The url something like

    http://cfs-listen-80.lala.com/contentfs/content?t=long-list-of-random-chars [lala.com]

    Unfortunately, the song seems to not getting stored anywhere on the local hard disk. And when one tries to start downloading the url a second time, a "not found" message is given. Anybody interested of analyzing it some more? :-D
  • Only a dime? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnotherBlackHat (265897) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:07PM (#23563881) Homepage
    Hard to find a jukebox these days that charges less than 25 cents a play.

    Yeah, I know it's not the same, I'm just saying that the idea of charging per play is hardly a new, untested, unworkable one.

  • Actually... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:08PM (#23563905) Homepage
    10 cents is actually my price point for music; when iTunes started selling it for a buck I poo-pooed it and said I'd wait for 10 cents. If it actually happens, I'll start buying music again. If it weren't for the record labels, and independent bands were allowed to sell their own music, even a mediocre band should be able to survive on the income and a great band should make oodles and oodles of cash.

    But it'd have to be BUYING the music, not renting. I want a high quality VBR MP3 or AAC file, at the minimum.
    • Hideho, IP seller from the Internet here. I sell five figures a year worth of software at $25 a pop (http://www.bingocardcreator.com). Doing that requires getting between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors to my site over the course of a year. I'm going to work out the mediocre band math for you:

      Desired income per band member: $20,000 (starving artistry rocks!)
      Band members: 4

      Required income for band: $80k

      Expenses (band promotional/community website, equipment, etc): $20k

      Split with service: 50-50 (and that is H
  • by Tango42 (662363) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:08PM (#23563909)
    I don't get it... it says you can listen to a song for free once, and then you have to pay. How do they know I've listened to it before? I can delete cookies, and I can sign up multiple times if I have to. Unless they require some kind of verifiable identification to prove you're a new user (which I do not intend to provide), I can listen to as much music as I like for free. Sounds like a great site to me!
  • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @06:18PM (#23564025) Homepage Journal
    If this is a web interface, and a user can log in from any computer, then there is no problem.

    Honestly, any music one buys online is going to have a limited lifetime. The best one can hope for is that you can make a copy to CD and not lose much in the transcoding. But how many people burn to CD? For most people the just put on their computer or another device.

    While I think this service is maybe inferior to something like Amazon, it is superior in many ways to ITMS. If I can pay a dime to put something in a jukebox, then play it from anywhere I can log on, what is the problem? I might make even more sense to use this service that labouriously moving all my music from on device to another.

    That is if I hadn't already bought half of the music I will likely buy in my lifetime. I have many gigabytes of music that I have bought over my life. If I was a kid with a computer, a smart phone, and internet access at school, this would be a wonderful deal. An album for a dollar. I can play on anything I normally play on? Sign me up! You may think of the expense, but how much are kids paying for ringtones, SMS, and the like.

    I know we have a kneejerk reaction around here to paying for things, and we believe that music wants to be free, but perhaps the objection here is more based on what we consider the norm, not rational thought. Perhaps music is not about listening to the same album a hundred times because we can only afford that one album, or listening to whatever is free on yahoo. Perhaps there is some value in having a collection of songs, that one chooses our of personal taste, and then having access to those songs over many devices located in disparate geographical area. As I said, i would not do this. I would just buy the CD or download the album. But I can imagine such a thing maybe finding a small market. It would suck to have all the music go away, though.

  • On their "How It Works [lala.com]" page, they do mention that they offer DRM-free MP3s "for your iPod or other portable device" for $0.89. (Well, "79Â more"...)
  • by John Jamieson (890438) on Tuesday May 27, 2008 @09:04PM (#23565617)
    I don't think Michael Robertson has a shred of legitimacy.

    First, I KEEP trying to get off his spam list for Michael's Minutes, and Linspire. Do they ever remove my name? NOOO

    What can I do to get these unrepentant spammers off my back? Does anyone have any ideas?

    (second, he sold out to MS, a whole other problem)

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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