Liking Lala

"Built by a team of engineers responsible for services like Yahoo!, eBay, Blogger and AOL," the new web-centered music service Lala.com boasts a selection of 6 million songs. Here’s the pitch: play songs once for free. Play them online as much as you like for 10 cents each, or download them as non-DRM MP3s for 79 cents each. Like it or not, I think this might be the future of digital music. Music is backed up in the cloud automatically (it’s almost like Gmail for music), and the songs you need locally are only what your iPod is capable of storing or what you really need to have when you’re not online, which, in the age of 3G smartphones, is increasingly rare. Instead of restricting ownership with software like DRM, limited ownership is incentivized with price. Better still, the service eliminates digital redundancy by transcluding data: instead of every user having their own track, it’s one track for every user.

To quote the sagacious Kevin Kelly: “Ownership is not as important as it once was.” Lala.com is proof positive of this trend.

Update: Apple saw Lala’s value as well, purchasing the company in December 2009.

Rad Mountain at Design Remixed, Paul Sahre at FIT

Two great AIGA/NY events coming up I want to share to close out the week. Coming up this Wednesday at our monthly series Design Remixed, I’ll be hosting Damien Correll and Garrett Morin of the illustration collective Rad Mountain at the Soho Apple Store (details). Then, on 6 February, the amazing Mr Paul Sahre will be speaking at Katie Murphy Auditorium at FIT (details). Design Remixed is free and open to the public, and Paul Sahre’s talk will be sure to sell out fast, so pick up tickets today at AIGANY.org.

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I thought I was all set with the conceptual underpinnings of the I’m a Mac / I’m a PC campaign until I read John Gruber’s thoughtful post on Microsoft’s new campaign. Gruber writes, “Apple does not sell operating systems. They sell computers. Microsoft does not sell computers; they sell operating systems. […] Apple and Microsoft are undeniably engaged in one of the longest running and most interesting rivalries in business history, but it is very odd in that it is an orthogonal rivalry. Apple’s direct competition isn’t Microsoft but instead PC makers who sell computers running Windows. […] The framing of Apple’s ads is not about either/or. Not a choice between two rival products, like Democrat/Republican, Chevy/Ford, Coke/Pepsi. The framing instead is special vs. regular. Not Coke vs. Pepsi but Coke vs. ‘soda.’ […] Windows is not the Mac’s rival or competitor. It is the omnipresent homogenizer that weighs PC down.”

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This may be familiar news by now, but 18-year-old Apple fan Nick Haley created an ad for the iPod Touch and posted it to YouTube and Apple’s decided to run it nationally. From Stuart Elliott’s article in NYT, “Consumers creating commercials ‘is part of this brave new world we live in,’ said Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA Worldwide, based in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Playa del Rey. ‘It’s an exciting new format for brands to communicate with their audiences,’ Mr. Clow said. ‘People’s relationship with a brand is becoming a dialog, not a monolog.’” See Haley’s original ad here and the official Apple remix here.

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David Byrne takes the words out of my mouth: the new iPod campaign does look just like Robert Longo’s Men in the City series. (Maximo Park and The Rapture, aren’t far off either.) Nice to see Longo’s work have such a huge influence.

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“‘As an icebreaker, we said, “Tell us about the best service experience you’ve ever had.” Of the 18 people, 16 said it was in a hotel. This was unexpected. But of course: The concierge desk at a hotel isn’t selling anything; it’s there to help. ‘We said, “Well, how do we create a store that has the friendliness of a Four Seasons Hotel?”’ The answer: ‘Let’s put a bar in our stores. But instead of dispensing alcohol, we dispense advice.’” CNN Money on why Apple is America’s best retailer (via Kottke).