Lala.com — a new website that helps song lovers trade entire compact discs for less than the cost of a single iTunes video download — is either the music industry's salvation or yet another nail in its coffin.
But because the company never actually takes possession of the traded albums, it can't guarantee that pirated discs won't be exchanged. And although the website asks members to remove songs from their computers after mailing the CD to someone else, there's nothing to prevent a Lala.com user from receiving a CD, copying it, and then trading the original again.
At a conference last August, the chief executive of the Recording Industry Assn. of America, Mitch Bainwol, told a room full of music retailers that "listeners who make copies of CDs and give them to friends are becoming a greater threat than peer-to-peer networks." Bainwol added that one reason for the industry's downturn is that 12% of U.S. households regularly copy CDs for acquaintances who might otherwise buy a new version of the album.
News source: Los Angeles Times