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Apple has confirmed it has purchased online music retailer Lala.com, a Silicon Valley startup that has threatened “the end of the MP3” with its fast song-streaming application.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the purchase, but would not provide any further information, including how much the deal was worth. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans,” he said.

Lala has developed an application ­ not yet available to the public ­ that allows users to buy the right to stream songs from a digital locker for an unlimited time on their iPhones for 10 cents each.

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