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Summary:

Updated with confirmation from Facebook: There’s more than one way to post a song on someone’s Facebook profile — an Imeem link or a YouTube video, to name two. But Lala.com is set to become the first streaming music provider to offer songs as virtual gifts […]

lalaUpdated with confirmation from Facebook: There’s more than one way to post a song on someone’s Facebook profile — an Imeem link or a YouTube video, to name two. But Lala.com is set to become the first streaming music provider to offer songs as virtual gifts in Facebook’s store, according to a report today on the New York Times’ Bits blog. Several Facebook third-party apps already provide song streams, and the company has toyed with the idea of introducing a music service for some time. (Its most popular music app, iLike, became a MySpace property at a fire-sale price this summer.) Today’s news, however, represents Facebook’s first true foray into music, as well as a vote of confidence in Lala’s paid-streaming model.

Lala typically offers free one-time streams, 10-cent “web songs” that can be streamed an infinite number of times, and paid MP3 downloads at various price points. The virtual gifts can apparently be Web songs that will cost one Facebook credit, an equivalent of 10 cents, or full-song downloads that cost about 10 credits. Neither Lala nor Facebook is providing details on how their model will work yet, including whether the recipient’s friends get to stream the song as well.

Lala already allows a user to push a single-play song stream out to Facebook and Twitter, or to embed a widget elsewhere using a bit of code, for free. Other services that offer embeddable streams can be less reliable, with some songs reduced to 30-second clips and other embeds disabled upon request of the labels. A virtual gift of a song stream is still mostly about making a gesture, especially with free alternatives floating around, but for music fans, a timely stream is at least as good as a picture of a birthday cake. Update: Facebook confirms in a blog post that it will sell the song streams, part of a fully revamped virtual gifts shop featuring non-profit donation gifts and sports-related goods. Recipients of a gift web song will be able to listen as many times as they like, while their friends will get to stream it once, after which they will be replaced with 30-second clips. Downloadable MP3 gift songs will cost 9 credits.

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  1. This is a great idea. I subscribe to Rhapsody, can’t count the number of times I would like to send someone a single song to listen to. And I wish people would send me more stuff to listen to.

    1. If you want to find and share music then http://www.we7.com is an excellent site for browsing c. 4m songs and discovering new bands. You can then share those songs individually or as a playlist through email, embedding links, twitter etc. The best bit, its free!

  2. Mädchen Spiele Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Cyworld in Korea did this 4 years ago :)

  3. Ypulse Essentials: MySpace Music Videos, ‘Children’s Hospital’ On Adult Swim, Horror Marketing 2.0 | Ypulse Thursday, October 22, 2009

    [...] asks the underlying question: will a searchable collection of music videos save MySpace? Meanwhile Facebook teams with streaming site Lala to offer songs as virtual gifts) [...]

  4. Ypulse Essentials: MySpace Music Videos, 'Children's Hospital' On Adult Swim, Horror Marketing 2.0 | Hollywood Teen Friday, October 23, 2009

    [...] asks the underlying question: will a searchable collection of music videos save MySpace? Meanwhile Facebook teams with streaming site Lala to offer songs as virtual gifts) [...]

  5. Is Google Dinging Music Search Results With Promo Songs? Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    [...] once for free, after which time they’re available for purchase, either in Lala’s “web song” format or MP3 download — consistent with the company’s usual [...]

  6. Apple in Talks to Acquire Lala: Report – GigaOM Friday, December 4, 2009

    [...] service, Lala morphed into a digital music locker and browser-based streaming site that sold permanently accessible song streams for a dime apiece. The company is apparently only weeks away from introducing an iPhone application [...]

  7. How Apple’s New Music Strategy Reflects a Paradigm Shift – GigaOM Thursday, December 10, 2009

    [...] model, and neither is Apple. It’s unknown whether Apple will keep Lala’s idea of the 10-cent streaming “web song” intact, but that’s still a kind of ownership that represents a relationship with an artist or [...]

  8. Facebook Brings on PayPal to Help Manage Payments – GigaOM Thursday, February 18, 2010

    [...] But then again the company has been talking about a payments platform for years and now is only testing credits within a few applications. (Though it also opened up mobile payments to outside provider Zong last [...]

  9. Spiele für mädchen Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Cyworld in Korea did this 4 years ago :) hehe Yesss

  10. Lala to Go the Way of the Dodo Friday, April 30, 2010

    [...] site in 2007, offering a storage locker for its users’ MP3 collections while selling 10-cent web songs that gave buyers the right to stream tracks as many times as they’d like. It may have been ahead [...]

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