Web site offers a used CD trade on lala.com

By Nancy Petitto U-WIRE

LINCOLN, Neb. – Lala.com is working to bring the old school record store back, but with a twist.

The Web site combines aspects of eBay, Netflix and MySpace.com to work like a music co-op online.

After signing up, the site enables people to list all the CDs they have and all the ones they want. Then the site matches members with other members so they can begin trading used discs they no longer get any use out of.

And while members are never obligated to ship out a CD, the more CDs they ship, the more members can receive in return.

Each time a CD is sent out, a credit is given that can be traded in to gain a CD from another member. Once the credit is received the member can trade it in for only $1, plus 49 cents for shipping.

“This site enables people to discuss and share ideas about music and discover more,” said Lala.com spokesman John Kuch. “We’re trying to build that local record store but do it online.”

Lala.com is working to create an online store for those that have a stack of old, used CDs that might get $1 or $2 at a local record store. Instead of selling them at a store, lala.com is linking members up with other members that want to get rid of some music but want to try some new music in return.

After first signing up with the site, members receive a starter kit with pre-paid envelopes and CD case protectors. As soon as the kit is received, members can start sending CDs out to gain credits. Members don’t send out the original case with the CD, but sending the artwork is optional.

Once a CD is received, members can log into the site to let the company know if it was damaged or in perfect condition.

Lala.com guarantees that any CD received will play, and if it doesn’t, they’ll find you another that will.

Lala.com is also giving 20 percent of the trading revenues to the artist, which some think may pose a problem for the company.

Glenn Peoples, founder and editor of music blog Coolfer.com, is hesitant to think the idea will work out.

Giving 20 percent of the revenues to artists also put lala.com at a disadvantage, he said.

“I think the site is missing an opportunity to be more efficient,” he said. “Giving away money to artists when it’s not necessary to do so is going to hurt them.”

Peoples also sees other companies like eBay as a threat since most CD collectors can get cheap music on eBay.

Lala.com launched its beta version in early March and have been getting an amazing number of people interested, Kuch said.

And while right now the site is only allowing members to trade CDs, they plan on letting members buy new CD or pay to download them digitally.

While an interest may be stirring for lala.com, Peoples doesn’t see much of a future for the site.

“I’ve been in music a long time. I read what people say and hear what they say, and the truth is people will take it off the Internet if they can,” he said. “It would have been better five years ago before used CDs became less valuable.”