Apple closes Lala – is on the way?

Apple has announced that it plans to close down its Lala music streaming service, indicating that it may be planning to turn iTunes into a cloud-based service.

In a message on its website, the company says the service will shut down on May 31, and that it is no longer accepting new users.

Users will find that MP3 songs will continue to play, and they will be given credits to the amount of their web song purchases to be redeemed in the iTunes Store.

Apple bought the then four-year-old company last December. Lala offered music streaming of over seven million songs in the US.

The move supports expectations that Apple is planning to use Lala to help launch ‘’ – its own cloud-based version of iTunes.

This would eliminate the need to download software, and mean other websites could include iTunes buttons. A streaming service would also mean that customers wouldn’t run into storage problems.

At the time of the acquisition, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was likely to make the move as early as this June.

The company is already the biggest retailer of music in the US through iTunes, according to the International Federation of the Recording Industry.