Thursday, December 10, 2009

Steve Jobs' (Sorta-Wonderful) Fascist Juggernaut invades Lala, the Poland of Music

Competition, we're reminded, is for pussies and Adam Smith. Also, that Poland thing was a Nazi joke, not a Polish joke. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, I guess.

Our latest reminder of the convenience of horizontal integration comes with the news that iTunes has bought online music store Lala (a four-year old startup out of, where else, Silicon Valley). Not being iTunes or Amazon, it's basically the indie-est online music store around and (hilariously enough) also the cheapest. Since when did the independent record store actually have the best prices? Mojo Music (R.I.P.) in Willowbrook certainly didn't. But they let us use their speakers to have a Zaireeka listening party.

The New York Times (and errbody else) is trumpeting this as an indication that Apple has finally resigned itself to the idea that people might want to stream their music (ahem, Myspace) rather than actually buy it. They're probably anticipating the (hopefully) imminent arrival of proprietary p2p music streaming service Spotify (I don't know what proprietary means, but it makes me sound mathy, just like algorithm). Spotify's sorta like free Rhapsody, where you can listen to as much music as you want whenever you want as long as you deal with a few advertisements (which, of course, disappear for like $14 a month).

I'm pissed primarily because of the disappearance of Lala's .mp3-purchasing service. It satiates the bargain-hunter (and stingy bastard) in me by offering just about any full-length album for $7.50. That's a buck fifty less than iTunes (or even more, based on the proliferation of albums that aren't $9.99), and they give you super-high quality, 320 kbps .mp3s.

Competitors force you, in the end, to either lower your prices, or fuckin' buy 'em up.

Shitballs, in this case.