If you’ve never heard of lala.com, here’s the quick run-down: a bunch of really smart people, with lots of seed money, have set up a system whereby you can trade CDs with other people for a dollar or so. It’s basically an intermediary for CD trading.
To simplify further, to trade CDs that you have, here’s what you do:
- You have an original CD that you are willing to part with.
- You list it on their system. This is pretty easy to do, and their search function employs the latest trendy AJAX technology, so various search results appear as you type.
- If another lala member wants your CD, you get a message tellling you that somebody wants your CD.
- You put that CD (must be an original!! no burned CDs!!) into a CD protector and a prepaid envelope that lala has already sent you. (I’ve already received four shipments of Tyvek envelopes, protectors, stamps, and instructions, all before I provided a credit card number.)
- You get a credit for that CD; you can use this credit to receive a CD.
Now, of course you want to get some CDs in return:
- You list the CDs that you want.
- You hope that they will match up with the CDs that people are willing to send.
- You pay $1.75 for each CD you receive.
- When you do receive your CD, you need to log into your lala account to let them know that you’ve received it. You currently have several options when you acknowledge receipt:
- Received in good condition
- Received in good condition with liner notes
- Received but the CD is broken
- Received but the CD is not an original
- Received but the CD is not the one I requested
- Never received
It’s all pretty easy to do, but you need to make lots of stops at the post office or the local mail box. To date I have sent nine CDs and have received two. The first CD I received was a bit scratched up and wouldn’t play in my old CD player, but by that time, I’d already marked it “received in good condition” in lala.com. In the meantime, I sent off a bunch of other CDs, all in good faith that the system would work out. A few days later I was happy to learn that somebody had promised to send me an old Ministry album that I don’t have on CD. It took a while to arrive, but when it did, it was in perfect condition.
lala throttled me for sending out too many CDs at one time. This is the message I get when I have five original CDs in the mail to the people who have requested the Cds: “You have too many CDs in transit. Please wait a few days for the recipients to receive their CDs in order to continue shipping.”
Now, about the CDs you can expect to receive: granted that I have received only two CDs, but it certainly seems that it is much easier to trade the big name albums. For example, I have many requests for AC/DCs Back in Black and for Van Halen’s Van Halen, but not a single request for Meat Beat Manifesto. To be fair, I do have a bunch of requests for my Sonic Youth, Ministry, and Jane’s Addiction CDs. But nothing for Grotus, Patsy Cline, The Shamen, etc.
But I have high hopes for this site. Hopes so high that I have sent out four times as many CDs as I have received. It’s turning out to be a lot of fun to see what is coming to you.
Edit: I just got notification that I’m receiving some lesser-known stuff that I wouldn’t mind having on CD–Bad Brains’ Eye Against Eye, and eponymous albums from Dirty Vegas and Jane’s Addiction.