You may be wondering at this point how Lala gets along with the artists whose CDs are traded on the site. The answer is, quite well. Although the company is by no means required to do so, Lala contributes 20 percent of the revenue generated by trading directly to the individual artists. Of course, an artist must be registered--and alive--to collect the funds. But Lala doesn't just keep the money that would go to those that don't meet the requirements. Instead, the company donates that share to a fund that helps pay for independent musicians' medical insurance. We think that's just swell.
In addition to its CD trading services, Lala has a partnership with New England music chain Newbury Comics, through which it offers reasonably priced new CDs. This is a good feature, because with hot new titles, there simply aren't enough discs in the trading pool to fulfill member demand. Plus, the more in-demand an album is, the lower the price--Lala saves on bulk orders and passes on the savings to the customer.
The site also boasts numerous community features that help you feel connected to music culture. Each member has a home page that displays the member's Have List and Want List, as well as any blog entries and CD reviews created by the member. A buddy list lets you develop a network of friends on Lala, and you can also post comments on other members' pages.
In our experience, trading CDs through Lala was a pleasure. Although some CDs, such as Iggy Pop's Brick by Brick, languished on our Have List for months without being requested, others went quickly. According to the Lala forums, some members have had certain CDs listed for nearly a year without finding any takers. It's important to list as many CDs as possible in your Have List (Lala recommends listing more than 50) so that selections from your collection are frequently requested, allowing you to make trades and earn karma. Lala says there are currently 5 million discs available for trading on the service. Reportedly, Lala has around 200,000 members. As more members join, the overall experience should only get better. So what are you waiting for? If you have crates of discs collecting dust, definitely sign up for this fun and simple service.
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