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lalaApple is reportedly in talks to buy music streaming service Lala for an undisclosed amount, according to Bloomberg. As emerging competitors like Spotify try to scale a revenue model for music that places the emphasis on access to songs, rather than outright ownership, Apple needs a way to defend the breakthroughs it made with iTunes and the iPod.

Lala secured two big distribution deals this fall, landing in Google’s music search and on Facebook, supporting a service that lets users buy music like a virtual good and gift it to friends. The Palo Alto-based company has contracts with the four major music record labels, letting users listen to any song once for free, then giving them the opportunity to buy the track for 10 cents and stream it on the web.

Lala raised funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Ignition Partners and Warner Music Group. The company hasn’t responded to calls for comment, but we’ll keep you posted.

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