There’s a great music website called Lala which I have been using for about 6 months now. It allows you to upload your music collection and listen to it anywhere that you have a computer (or iPhone) and an internet connection. You can set up playlists and share them. And, of course, you can sort your music collection any way you want. [ Example: Show me just the Heavy Metal albums ... yay!] The web application is absolutely phenomenal. It’s drag & drop and very, very visual — a model of “complex simplicity”. It’s more or less a web-based iTunes before iTunes tried to do everything. I’ve stopped liking iTunes because it’s doing too much — Genius, video, and now Facebook integration … why oh why? Call me a curmudgeon, but I kinda tolerated it about 2 or 3 years ago when all it did was organize and play music. It did that well. Lala reminds me of the happy, friendly iTunes of 2006.
I’m not going to sit here and describe every aspect of Lala because honestly you should be using it right now. I have not a single complaint after 6 months of daily use. Normally I am very critical, but this just kicks ass. Seriously, stop reading this crappy blog post and just sign up at http://www.lala.com. Download the tiny desktop application. Pick three or four albums to upload. Although the upload process is automated, it takes a long time to upload all your albums (I have 180 gigs of music!!). So at first, limit yourself to those few albums. It took about a day to upload 9 gigs / 1800 songs, but it did all that nonsense in the background. Anyway, if you like it, then endure the lengthy upload for the rest of your music.
One of the coolest features that I cannot get over is that I can be listening to some ridiculously long playlist here at work. Then I turn off my computer at work, go home, boot up the home system (workaholics, unite!), and pick up the playlist right where I left off. It’s awesome. I giggle to myself every time I get to do that.
The big mystery that lingers over this whole utopian system is how Lala gets around licensing. Will the RIAA axe fall as heavily as it did with Pandora? — By the way, Pandora, awesome bounce-back. Y’all have a godlike CEO over there. – Apparently, Lala gets around licensing issues by comparing your music files with albums that they already have legally in their library. Then Lala uploads only the music that they don’t have. Yeah, I know, if you do the math, it doesn’t really add up. Shhhhh!