is the future of music consumption

Lala Logo's logo

One of the things I love most is when technology and music are combined to make something incredible. The iPhone,, MIDI controllers, and Daft Punk’s pyramid are all perfect examples of this. has been added to that list. in a nutshell

Here’s the process that Lala presents for consuming music. First, you can listen to any song in it’s massive online database for free. The catch? You can once listen to each song once. Now you can either download a DRM-free MP3 for about a buck, or you can purchase the web-version of a song for 10 cents. This web version of the song is now free of the one-play restriction and is added to your library.

Now to the second aspect of Lala. Using a small standalone app, Lala will scan your music folder and unlock the web versions of every song you have. If Lala doesn’t find a match in its database, it will upload your song to the cloud. Every song you have on your computer is now available for you to stream for free unlimited times.

Your music in the cloud

If you aren’t familiar with “the cloud”, just think of websites like Gmail or Google Docs where all of your information is stored on some remote servers (the cloud) instead of your local machine. With Lala, its of your music that is in the cloud.

This currently means that you can access all of your music for free on any computer with an internet connection. While this is the main feature Lala boasts right now, the potential of this reaches much further. Lala could integrate the subscription model of services like Real Network’s Rhapsody and Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace and quickly overtake them. Lala’s current monetisation scheme seems to be working pretty well for them ($.10 or $1), but there are so many other directions they can take in the future.

iPhone app

Engadget just posted an article showing a very early build of the iPhone app Lala has in the works. Right now, mobile devices like the iPhone are limited by their data storage capacities. Because of mobile phones’ small sizes, storage is limited to around 16GBs right now.  If Lala can get past the legal hurdles that the record companies present and get the web versions of songs to play on mobile apps, this storage restriction will be lifted.

I’m hooked

Lala has the potential to do everything that I want a media player to do. iTunes works well right now, but the reason I love it is because it syncs so well with my iPhone, not because of its ability to play music (and I’ve never bought music from the iTunes Store).

I believe agility will be one of Lala’s key strengths. If the company can continue to innovate the online music marketplace as it has, I see no reason why media desktop apps won’t be a thing of the past.

update: I’ve fallen in love with Lala’s “Mix it up” feature. It’s basically a playlist generator (ie. iTunes Genius), and it works great!

The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

the official cover art for the prodigy's - invaders must die
the official cover art for the prodigy's - invaders must die

The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

Unfortunately, Invaders Must Die isn’t the return to hardcore techno greatness that Fat of the Land begun… But don’t let that get you down, because there are some damn good bangers in there. Invaders Must Die is a vast improvement compared to their/his (Liam Flint was the only member to contribute) album, Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned (AONO).

As the first Prodigy album with all three members in 15 years, it’s nice to hear Maxim & Keith’s voices on many of the tracks. I think Liam went overboard with the guest vocalists last time around (Juliette Lewis, Liam and Noel Gallagher, Kool Keith, and The Magnificent Ping Pong Bitches), but it’s clear he’s reeled himself back in with IMD.

Starting with my favorite track on the album, Take Me To The Hospital knocks it out of the park. The traces of rave are clear in the synth stabs from the get-go, and the hard beat is brought in right after a short intro. What separates this track from the rest is that it doesn’t sound like an attempt to recapture some lost glory, it takes what the Prodigy is known for (knock-out beats & rave synths) and pushes it forward.

Immediately after Take Me To The Hospital comes Warrior’s Dance which is probably my #2 song on IMD. Instead of having ravy synths, it’s the vocal sample that gives the listener the hints. The bass line in this song is one that makes you wish you had a wall of subs because it would shake you to your core. It has a nice breakdown about 2/3 of the way through, and as expected, the buildup and climax are spot-on.

Jumping down four tracks, Piranha has the best groove on the album. I seriously can’t stop dancing to this one; it gives me the same feeling as Hot Chip’s Out At The Pictures (I just wanna dance). I could do without the lyrics though… “Teeth, grip, razor sharp / Bites hi-power, tear you apart.”

When I was listening to IMD for the first time, I was getting very worried before I hit Take Me To The Hospital and Warrior’s Dance (they are #5 and #6 respectively). Why? Because the first song Invaders Must Die is good, but all I can think about when I listen to it is how much it sounds like The Prodigy trying to be Pendulum. Not a great first impression. Next is Omen, which is OK and doesn’t sound like Pendulum but just doesn’t sit right.

Then came Thunder, which shouldn’t have any vocals at all. The beats are sick, but I can’t stand Maxim on the track. I also feel that they could have made much more with the synths; they don’t fit with the rest of the song at all. Finally comes Colours, which I thought what going to be the redeemer when it started (sound like Hotride at first), then came in the worst synth line on the album. I hate the synths.

Now that you know the songs I loved and hated, the rest sort of fall into the middle. Run With the Wolves is an excuse to have live drums on a hardcore techno track, World’s On Fire is forgettable (but brings the rave back again), Stand Up confused the hell out of me, and Omen Reprise is just a +1 to the total track count (completely unnecessary).

Look before for a simple breakdown of what I rate each track and what my average would be. I enjoyed this album, and there is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be buying tickets when the Prodigy next comes around to LA.

Song Ratings

Here is a simple breakdown of what I’d rate each track on a 5 point scale. The average/mean (when converted to a Pitchfork scale) comes to 7.8, which I’d say is pretty respectable (even though I was praying it’d be a perfect 10). But I’m pretty sure that when the Pitchfork review comes out, it’ll be quite a bit lower than what I gave it (update: they gave it a 5.8).

  1. Invaders Must Die 5/5
  2. Omen 4/5
  3. Thunder 2/5
  4. Colours 3/5
  5. Take Me To The Hospital 5/5
  6. Warrior’s Dance 5/5
  7. Run With The Wolves 4/5
  8. Omen Reprise ?/5
  9. World’s On Fire 3/5
  10. Piranha 5/5
  11. Stand Up 3/5