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Apple shutting down Lala music service

Industry suspects Apple is working on web-based iTunes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Apple is shutting down Lala.com, the online music retailer it bought last year. The move comes amid speculation that Apple will soon offer a way for people to access songs from distant computers.

A message posted on Lala’s home page late Thursday says the service isn’t accepting new users and will shut down at the end of May.

Some executives in the online music industry suspect Apple is working on letting its iTunes customers buy and listen to songs in a way that doesn’t require downloads. Instead users would access music stored on servers through cell phone networks.

Such so-called “cloud music” services have gotten a boost from recent price cuts and applications that allow playback even outside of cell-phone coverage.

Apple declined to comment Friday on its future plans.

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