Rara is aiming to convert the 80 per cent of the market it claims is not served by the current streaming and download services saying anyone who can use a web browser will be able to use it.
Rara is a UK company which has been set up by Rob Lewis, the founder of Omniphone, who says its unique selling point is that it’s easy to use and will be accessible to the group of people who are baffled by the current crop of streaming services or just can’t work out how downloads work.
The service, which went live today (13 December), is web-based and promises an easy-to-use user interface which won’t present long lists of tracks, albums and artists. Curation will be a big part of the service with playlists to suit all your moods as well as ones from ‘Associate Editors’ such as Grammy Award-winning musician Imogen Heap – with more to be announced in the near future.
The service will be available on Android devices from today with iOS and WP7 apps coming “very soon.” Rara has signed deals with all the major labels and will have over 10 million tracks available at launch.
At the launch in London this morning, Lewis said that more labels will be signed as the service rolls out and there will be a lot of localisation in each market. The service is launching in 18 countries today across Europe and North America with five more to come in the coming weeks.
Rara is offering an introductory offer to new customers of just 99p/99c/99¢ per month for unlimited ad-free access to as much music as they like. That will rise to £4.99/€4.99/$4.99 per month thereafter but there is no compunction to sign up after the initial three-month period.
Another service costing £1.99 initially and £9.99 thereafter will allow for offline caching of as much music as you like to your mobile device.
The service will use the eAAC codec which should allow users to download and stream a lot of music without eating up all their data allowance. Indeed Lewis said that for most typical users, it won’t impact that much on their data usage at all.
Rara has also partnered with HP to make it the default music player on all HP laptops and PCs shipped in 2012 which will give the service a pretty large audience straight away.
When we questioned Lewis this morning about just how easy this service is to use, he said that market research carried out by the company had convinced them that anyone who can use a web browser will be able to use the service.
Rara said this is only the beginning and is planning a lot of announcements at CES this January with in-car systems a probable addition to the service as well as possible AirPlay integration.
With only five million people globally using streaming services to get access to music, there is certainly a major untapped market out there to be exploited but we’re not sure whether Rara is sufficiently simple enough to convert the 94 per cent of people still relying on CDs for their listening pleasure to the streaming system.