once you’ve made the sale, you take the money

I’ll tell you how I know that the magnificently insane yet ballsy new download store at Lala.com is not going to make it. I fell in love with an album (“album”? “compilation”? what do we call these things in their online iteration?) via their wonderful free sample site, and I would gladly fork over the stupidly expensive $13.78 they are asking, but they won’t sell me anything I can play, because their downloads will only work on an iPod.

They won’t work in iTunes, they definitely won’t work in a Unix shell window, and they would fucking come alive and laugh at me if I tried to get them to play on my cell phone. “hahahahahahahahahah” say the little downloads. “You’re going out of business,” says the grumpy blogger.

It’s like selling bread which only toasts in one brand of toaster. Or butter which can only be spread with a Land O’ Lakes ® brand knife. You can call these B Read and spUtter or whatever else strikes your fancy, but they aren’t bread and butter.

The album, by the way, is Mambo Sinuendo by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban. Check it out — Lala makes it easy to *play*, but good luck *paying*.

6 thoughts on “once you’ve made the sale, you take the money

  1. I have been using LaLa for a few months to trade all my lame CDs that have been sitting in my attic for years. And I’ve loved it.

    But the new site is hard to use and confusing. I love the idea, but I can’t see people buying enough product to support this free model.

    I see Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo or Real buying this thing in a year or so at a firesale.

    But who knows… I have been wrong before.

    Right Lala is another online music offering that just adds to the confusion.

    For those of us who sleep and eat this stuff, digital music has become a proverbial cluster-fuck. Can’t eveyone who is not Apple just get together, combine forces and come up with a kick ass final solution.

    Please, for the love of God.

    BTW Lucas, what’s up? I miss you guys.

    .

  2. I’ll be releasing a new album in the coming months, and have decided, in theory, that I should make it available on all of these music sites. So, I’ve looked at so many of them, it’s ridiculous (plus, there have to be as many more that I haven’t even seen).

    From my research so far, I think we’re seeing the record store-ization of music sites, e.g., everyone wants to buy music online now, and lots of people are opening their own stores because they think they can serve some need. And (via social networks), these stores are actually finding people to shop there.

    So, I think it’s like 20-30 years ago when a new record store would open in your neighborhood, and you’d start shopping there because they either had some good deal, or they were closer than the other store down the road, or your friends worked there.

    I still see actualy physical record stores that I can’t believe are in business: is it low rent + regular customers? I wonder if these online music stores might have similar runs: say, 5+ years of selling music online, *not* being any kind of next big thing, but paying the bills and keeping the doors open?

  3. Hey Tiny Elvis —

    We are slowwwly getting to a release. I swear. The whole thing makes more sense if you think in geological time — epochs, millenia, etc.

    It’s not so much a cluster fuck as, um, hm. No, it’s a cluster fuck.

  4. Jay —

    The little used CD store on Pico by NARAS just closed its doors. Finally. It felt like a junk shop the few times I went in there. The customers looked disreputable, the merchandise felt beat up and unwanted, the space was laid out as if the owners and staff didn’t care and had nothing to lose.

    I wonder if that’s how comparable industries felt at the end? Did stores that sold piano rolls go that way? And before that, the places that sold sheet music for parlor jams…

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