By Mike Delano
Used to be that if you wanted to make a half Basement Jaxx, half Cannibal Corpse playlist, you had to pay to make that freakish vision a reality. Either you would subscribe to a music streaming service like Rhapsody or Yahoo! Music for a monthly fee, or plunk down some cash for the iTunes downloads or (gasp!) actual CDs. On lala.com, though, you can just queue it up and instantly stream the music to your computer for free. What started as an online trading post for CDs eventually morphed into a community where members can stream music, buy music, write reviews, upload their own CDs, and connect to other members based on their musical tastes. The blissfully uncluttered and ad-free interface comes with a small catch: Any music you don’t own can only be listened to once before you’ll be asked to pay to add it to your collection. Think about it: How many albums that’ve come out in the past year have you wanted to listen to more than once? Exactly. But as for the classics, well, save that play of “Hammer Smashed Face” for a true emergency. Recognize the name “lala”? Maybe it’s because it pops up at the top of a boatload of band searches on Google. That little “press play” button next to “Six Pack” when you Google Black Flag? You’re welcome.