Apple to shutter acquired streaming music service Lala on May 31

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Lala announced this week its website will no longer be operative as of May 31, and users who bought songs through the site will be credited with songs from Apple's iTunes.

Lala users will be able to access and play all of the music in their collection through May 31, 2010. As of Friday, WEb songs, wallets and gift cards are no longer available for purchase on Lala. Users can no longer upload their own songs, and new users are not being accepted.

Users who bought Web songs through the service will receive an iTunes Store credit in the amount of Lala song purchases. Those who have an outstanding wallet balance on May 31 will also be issued an iTunes credit for that amount. Lala said it will also write customers a check if requested by May 31.

Any unredeemed Lala gift cards must be utilized by May 31. The money will be added to the wallet balance, and can then be transferred in the form of a credit at the iTunes store.

Refunds will be calculated on May 31, and will be issued no later than June 14.

Late last year, Apple purchased Lala for $85 million. At the time, it was said that Lala's executives were set to play "significant roles" in Apple's iTunes strategy going forward.

In addition to selling songs and offering free streams of content, Lala allowed users to upload their own, separate music from their hard drive. If the content matched with licensed songs to which Lala owned the rights, the service allowed users to stream their music from the service, even though it was acquired elsewhere.

Just before Apple bought Lala, it introduced iTunes Preview, a browser-based list of content available from iTunes. Weeks later, iTunes Preview was expanded to offer song sampling within the browser, without running the iTunes desktop client.

Some expect that the acquisition of Lala will lead to an iTunes cloud that allows users to stream and access their purchased content from anywhere. Such a service could allow users to listen to their music from a variety of Internet-connected devices, even without a copy of iTunes installed.