Lala to launch streaming audio iPhone App within a month

As if launching music gifts with Facebook and being tipped to partner Google in its new search-and-share music venture wasn't enough for one week, str

As if launching music gifts with Facebook and being tipped to partner Google in its new search-and-share music venture wasn't enough for one week, streaming audio service Lala confirmed today that its long-awaited iPhone App would be available within a month.

In an exclusive interview with Stuff, Lala founder Bill Nguyen said that the US-only App, which will be submitted to Apple for approval very shortly, will offer free streams of over 9 million tracks, and song purchases for as little as 10 cents (6p).

While Lala also sells DRM-free MP3s for the usual 89 cents, its 10 cent deals are a little different - giving unlimited high quality streams of the song from Lala's 'music locker' in the cloud, but not a downloadable file.

"If you think about the web as a music platform, it's the last file format you'll ever need," says Nguyen. Users can 'upload' their iTunes or Windows library to Lala's lockers (it takes just a few minutes), then stream all the songs they already own (whether legally acquired or not) for free. Nguyen says that Lala hopes to upgrade streaming rates (currently 128kbps) 'every year' as bandwidth increases.

Next week will see a joint announcement by Lala and the MySpace-owned iLike, hotly tipped to be bringing their services to Google's search page. The new venture is rumoured to be called 'Google Music', 'Google Audio' or 'OneBox' - the same name as a mobile messaging start-up company Nguyen sold in 2000. Coincidence? All will be revealed on Wednesday.