Lala's Swan Song: Is iTunes Music Streaming On The Way?

Visitors to the Lala site this morning were greeted with a message saying the Lala service will be shut down on May 31 and that the Lala site is no longer accepting new users. Members can still access and play music in their collection through the end of the month.

Users who bought songs through the Lala site will be credited with songs from Apple's iTunes service. Unredeemed Lala gift cards must be used by May 31 and transferred in the form of a credit to the iTunes store, according to a story on the AppleInsider Web site.

Speculation is rampant that Apple is gearing up to debut its own music streaming service, possibly announcing it as early as the company's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco next month. Apple has used that venue in the past to make major announcements.

The speculation has been fueled by the fact Apple is constructing a massive data center in Maiden, N.C., at a reported cost of $1 billion, according to a U.K. Press Association report.

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At the time Apple bought Lala some theorized that Apple was acquiring the service for its payment and fulfillment system technology. Others said it eliminated a potential competitor for iTunes, but with other music sites such as Ruckus and SpiralFrog shutting down, that wouldn't seem to be the case.