I think concept is interesting, but I’m not sure it’ll fly in practice. Serious music fans that still buy CDs for the physical packaging and an unrestricted, lossless copy of the album may be loathe to send a member of their collection out to the world at large. And unlike DVDs on Peerflix, music generally maintains its utility over time; if you like something, you want to keep it to listen to again in the future.
Having said that, perhaps some who aspire to “go virtual” with their current CD collection, or who wish to get rid of old CDs they no longer like (or never liked in the first place), will take advantage of the service. However, I can’t imagine anyone would actually delete a ripped copy of a CD they enjoy before sending the physical copy out. That makes no sense. So in practice, as Michael notes, use of la la’s service is tantamount to P2P file-sharing. And, of course, there’s an easier and cheaper way for the risk-taking music consumer to accomplish this.
Another potential angle is that the service helps to drive music discovery, such that users can check out other users’ CD lists and then pick unfamiliar records from those with similar tastes. But there are much more efficient – and free – ways to accomplish social-based music discovery (Live365, Last.fm, LAUNCHcast).
I’d expect the majors won’t be happy with la la. But, then again, they don’t seem to be paying much mind to other non-P2P infringers at the moment (e.g. the tracks that MySpace users upload to their profiles for on-demand streaming by visitors are pretty clearly infringing on copyright law). I wonder if their legal argument holds water…
In any event, I’ll be interested to observe consumer take-up and the industry response.
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