Feeds

World's biggest music streaming service launches - for tech idiots

There's a lot of them out there

The essential guide to IT transformation

A new music streaming service launches today in 23 territories, the biggest launch so far. You're unlikely to want to sign up - it's aimed not at the tech-savvy user but at someone who has broadband but finds Spotify too complex.

That's a surprisingly large demographic, however, and given how much unpaid technical support time we give to non-tech users, it might figure on the recommendations list.

Rara.com was put together by Omnifone (and before that, Silicon.com) founder and current chairman Rob Lewis, and is backed by the platform. It's very graphical - featuring Cover Flow-style playlists and buttons that open stations for mood, genre or curated lists. There will be significant editorial input from in-house staff and artists including Imogen Heap.

In contrast to Spotify, there's no ad-supported portion, but you can sign up for 99 (US or Euro) cents a month, which goes up to $4.99 a month after three months. Offline and mobile access are $9.99 a month.

Analyst Mark Mulligan summed up the state of digital music services quite well in an introduction to the service.

"There's so much choice, but a lot of people have no choice at all. The 9.99 services are not getting anywhere because they target the same 1 per cent of the market. We're losing the mainstream for good," he concluded.

Lewis told us Rara.com had begun life as an internal research project at Omnifone some 18 months, for how Omnifone could create a radically simplified user interface for music. It was Omnifone's first real crack at the consumer market - it launched MusicStation in 2007, but through operators, and it powers Sony's cross-device music service too.

He said market research showed people were willing to pay, but were confused by services that were too technical or boring - "like looking at an Excel spreadsheet".

"The mass market doesn't know what caching means," said Lewis, indicating the kind of punter Rara is aimed at.

The question is how many of that mass market Rara can hope to convert. 48 per cent of people who've tried a streaming service cancel, with the user interface cited as the number one factor for pulling out. Perhaps Rara are in with a chance.

Or perhaps inertia will win the day and people will cling, barnacle-like, to the places they know. With Facebook delivering streaming music, and YouTube the world's default jukebox, the biggest rivals are already quite well established.

HP has agreed to bundle the service on their hardware. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.