Apple Acquires Music Service Lala Apple has purchased a small company that downloads songs more quickly from the Web. The company, Lala.com uses song-streaming, and the application could change the way we purchase music to play on iPhones and other portable music devices.

Apple Acquires Music Service Lala

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with a digital music deal.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Apple has bought an upstart online music retailer called Lala Media. The deal could expand Apple's music offerings. It already owns iTunes and, of course, make online music available more quickly and at a lower cost than ever before.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Apple wouldn't say how much it paid for Lala.com, but it did confirm that the purchase took place. Lala.com claims to have such a fast song-streaming application, it could rewrite the way we download our music. Lala gives users the option of downloading mp3's for $.89 each or buy a stream-only version of the song for $.10. An entire stream-only album would cost about a dollar.

And while the sound quality is not as good as what you can get on your iPod from iTunes, it's much less expensive. And with more and more iTunes users carrying iPhones and iPod Touches, which have less storage space, streaming music might be the way of the future.

The music streaming is a new incarnation for Lala.com. It started out as a CD-swapping service, and then last year joined forces with major music labels to launch this streaming and downloading application.

Dina Temple-Raston, NPR News.

INSKEEP: It was worth having that report just to hear Dina repeatedly say Lala, Lala, Lala, Lala.

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