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US music co-op "la la" goes online for legal song swapping

Posted by iMark - 2006-03-09

An online song co-op that claims to be the world's most diverse music store went live on the Internet from its US headquarters.
"La la" launched a beta-version website at lala.com with 1.8 million album titles available for trade at a dollar a piece. Membership was by invitation only, with a promise to open it to the public soon.

Members can exchange music compact disks by traditional mail using envelopes and postage provided by the "online music co-op," according to la-la co-founder Bill Nguyen. A member has to sell a CD to buy one.

By acting as middle-man for people trading used music CDs, la la intends to avoid copyright violation lawsuits that vex websites replicating and sharing music in digital format.

The founders of la la are "devout music fans that created the service for the benefit of artists and fellow music fans," Nguyen wrote in an opening day greeting on the website.

"Do right by the artists you enjoy through our service," Nguyen urged in his message. "Despite what is depicted on MTV's Cribs, a wonderfully entertaining show, most musicians don't live large with a big house and five cars."

Musicians typically struggle to survive on earnings from their music, according to Nguyen, who vowed that a fifth of the revenues taken in by la la will go to the artists.

"I ask you to do your part by doing the right thing: remove songs from your iPod or PC if you've agreed to send the CD to another member," Nguyen wrote. "Respect the artists and Karma will be on your side."

US copyright law allows people to sell or give away used music CDs.

La la also sells new CDs and music downloads, according to the Palo Alto, California, company. The website also promised a "social hub" where one could "discover music the old fashioned way, through conversation."

The website, named from the first words uttered by Nguyen's son, was backed by nine million dollars in venture capital. La la board members include Geoff Ralston, former chief product officer for online US search titan Yahoo.

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