Warner to Bet $20 Million on Song Rentals

Warner to Bet $20 Million on Song Rentals
According to the website of Michael Robertson, a longtime player in the world of high-tech entrepreneurialism, Warner Music has invested $20 Million in the website lala.com, which is soon to offer a service where you can "buy" songs for ten cents.

The setup is a catalogue of over five million songs, each of which you can stream once for free through your web browser. After that, you can "add" a song to your personal collection for a single credit, which costs ten cents. The catch: the songs aren’t downloadable. You can listen to them as much as you want, but only through a web browser in your personal collection area of the lala.com site — they can’t be put on MP3 players, or iTunes.

Warner is gambling that you’ll pay ten cents to stream something that you can probably get easily (and permanently) for free. This might not be as crazy as it sounds: while I don’t think anybody is going to use the site for serious music buying, for the price of a CD you get 200 songs that you can listen to from any computer with an internet connection anytime you want - perfect for those with office jobs or prone to attending parties with bad music.

A quick look through the catalogue rendered it decent enough as Black Dice, Erics Trip, Charlie Parker and Staple Singers all turned up hits. The site hasn’t yet launched publicly, but you can try it in beta — and you get 50 free credits for signing up.