I have been a member of the online music trading service, LaLa, for some time now and love it!
While iTunes is very well designed and tunes cost only 99 cents, you can get an entire album over at LaLa for only $1 per trade. What’s the catch?
Not much, actually. All you need to do is sign up to be a member (no tiers here – it’s a straight up free deal). Then you upload your CD collection (only a few of my discs were not recognized by the LaLa database but you can petition to get the ISBN added).
Then you place cds that you want in your want list and wait for other members to send it in the pre-paid postage envelope to you. Easy-Peasy.
Trades get throttled if you have traded out more than you have collected in which stops people from dumping off cds and not trading anything. Only original pressings are accepted for a trade and most people will send along the cd artwork from the cases. You can even make that mandatory for the trade.
The interface for LaLa is very simple and music genres can be searched. Looking for Afro-Cuban Jazz? No problem. I received my Machito cd last week. You can see from the image above that I have 138 different cds to trade, I currently have only 19 discs entered that I want to receive (must look for more music!), and I have received 133 cds from other members.
LaLa is a phenomenal way to dump old discs from your cd collection and even keep a copy before trading (mp3 or disk) since it belongs to you. Then, for a $1 a trade you can get anything from film scores, movie soundtracks, jazz, bay area rock, chopin, just about anything. I have yet to get stumped to find anything.
The only challenge is getting some members to part with their discs. For example, there are several film soundtracks I would love to receive but there are only a few members that have them entered in their collections for trade and so far no discs.
There is so much other music to enjoy I don’t really find this to be a major sticking point. The social aspects are good as well. You can tag people to be in your ‘friends’ list. You can email messages. You can listen to internet radio (although thanks to our government that may end soon). LaLa recently starting selling new discs at a pretty good discount as well and even launched some titles.
One of the founders bought one of the best college radio stations around (WOXY in Ohio) some time ago. I stopped buying from itunes when I discovered LaLa and hope you try it soon.