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Music streaming service Rara slips off cloak, jumps into ring with Spotify

Subscription music services for squares

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Stealth streaming service Rara is slightly less stealthy today. The Omnifone-backed brand launched 10 months ago and operates in 20 countries. Today it’s adding iPhone, iPad and Windows 8 MetroNotro apps, and beginning to market itself in the UK and Europe, as well as expanding into Latin America. Mexico and Brazil will get Rara shortly, as will Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Rara’s proposition is a mass market streaming service – aimed not at enthusiasts or music nuts, but people who generally get their music from the radio.

This is a tough market to crack, as over half the population (around 56 per cent) never pays directly for music, and is quite happy to receive it via the radio or on CD Christmas gifts. Rara’s job isn’t made any easier by insisting these non-payers must pay something before they’re on board, even if it’s a low ‘on-ramp’. New signups pay 99p a month for a three-month trial. After that, it’s a fiver a month, or £9.99 for mobile access.

But it’s guaranteed ad-free.

The UI is designed for novices with curated playlists based on themes. This avoids some of the banality of automatic playlists. For example, in the ‘Zen Garden’ playlist I found Enya, which isn’t so surprising, and German prog-rockers Amon Duul, and former commune pals of the Red Army Faction. Which was quite a nice surprise - and shows mass market playlists don't have to lack imagination.

Rara has licensed five major independent distributors including Merlin, Orchard and Ingrooves/Fontana.

Rara’s chief executive Nick Massey told us it was aiming at cars – where DAB has left an opportunity for internet music companies. ®

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