April 19, 2006 -- -- What do you do with the used CDs you don't want anymore? Throw them out? Sell them? Use them as very small Frisbees?
The self-proclaimed music lovers who started lala.com are banking on the idea that thousands of unwanted CDs sit dormant in music collections across the nation by creating a service that matches people up to trade their old tunes.
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The site could turn the Internet into the largest record store in the world.
A Music Buffet
For just a dollar, audiophiles post the CD they want to trade and what they want to trade it for, and wait to see if anyone bites.
If someone wants to trade, the two swap the CDs using prepaid envelopes provided by la la. If not, fans can buy the CD outright, or download tunes at retail prices.
"I think the big advantage is just the selection," said Bill Nguyen, one of the site's founders. "For example, if you go to a local record store, they have five or six thousand titles. You go to a Wal-Mart, about the same thing. You go to iTunes [music store] you have 150,000 albums, but la la has 1.8 million."
According to the Web site, Nguyen and the other creators wanted to created a service that would benefit music fans and music makers alike.
To make that point, they've put their money where their mouth is.
La la is offering up to 20 percent of its profits, which it said were barely enough to cover the cost of operating the site, to the recording artists themselves.
"Despite what is depicted on MTV's 'Cribs,' a wonderfully entertaining show, most musicians don't live large with a big house and five cars," reads a statement on the site. "Rather, the majority of musicians struggle to make a living from their recordings and must depend on other income-producing activities such as performing concerts or selling merchandise."
They only ask that as fans trade their music they respect the rules and do "the right thing" by removing digital copies of songs from their mp3 players and computers.
Profits? Who Needs Profits?
Lala.com is the latest example of new media ventures that take advantage of the Internet's connectivity to do something that feels good but won't necessarily make them rich.
Craigslist.org is a hugely popular, free online community billboard where people trade, buy and sell goods and services, look for jobs or housing, or just rap about whatever is on their minds.
With 1 billion page views a month, the mostly free listing service would make the site's founder, Craig Newmark, a very wealthy man if he had any interest in cashing in.
"It would be a deviation from our moral compass and I don't see right now a way to do it with some consistency regarding our idea of what is right," Newmark said in a previous interview with ABC News.
Though it's too early to know if la la has the potential to be the next Craigslist, it certainly represents an alternative way for music lovers to sample new music without infringing on copyright laws.
"Respect the artists and karma will be on your side," the site says.
ABC News' Zach Fannin and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.