Music streaming service Lala faced some pretty stiff competition prior to its acquisition by Apple, but all things considered, it was a fairly innovative service compared to most cut and dry music stores. Lala gave users the ability to stream an entire song for free once, and then gave you permanent online access for an additional 10 cents. Users could later elect to purchase the track DRM free for 79 cents if they wanted to load it on an MP3 player, but the real draw was the low cost and free samples which made music discovery far less expensive when compared to iTunes.Many were hoping Apple's acquisition of Lala would be a prelude to a subscription service similar to the Zune Pass, but instead they have simply decided to shut it down , with the last day of business being May 31st. It is unknown at this point if Apple is abandoning the whole streaming music concept altogether, or if the shut down is part of a larger plan to roll its features into iTunes in the coming months. It would make sense that an announcement along these lines would probably happen in June along with new hardware, but we'll have to wait and see.
People who bought songs through Lala won't be impacted since they are DRM free, but those who purchased streaming rights to tracks will either need to take an iTunes credit or jump through a few hoops to get a full refund. It's sad to see Lala go, but at least Apple is being fair to former customers.