Apple, whose iTunes is already responsible for 70 percent of all digital music sales, has added to their stronghold on the digital front by inking a deal to acquire music streaming service Lala.com, the New York Times reports. Lala has become a favorite of music sites in the past year for its ability to embed a "cloud-based" stream of a song, then giving the user an option of either purchasing an unlimited stream for 10 cents or downloading it for between 79 cents and 89 cents. Lala also allows its users to copy and synch their music collection and access it via their Website and their "cloud-based" design.
The acquisition opens up a few possibilities for Apple. The service may have brought in Lala to explore the possibility of streaming songs on Websites via Lala's embeddable "cloud" format as opposed to just linking users to the standalone iTunes music store. It also would allow iTunes users to access their entire music catalog between iPods, iPhones and other media without have to constantly shuttle music back and forth between mediums. Or the move simply could be Apple hitting the pause button on an enterprise they viewed as a potential competitor. Apple's deal can also be seen as a response to MySpace Music's recent acquisition of both Imeem and iLike.
According to TechCrunch, the deal may jeopardize Lala's previous relationship with record labels, and Apple may nullify all the 10 cent unlimited streams users had previously purchased. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Lala reached a partnership with Google just over a month ago, so it's unclear how the deal with Apple will affect that. The Lala Website doesn't provide any additional information regarding Apple's acquisition, as the site's blog hasn't been updated since early November and no press releases have been posted since October 2008.