Rara.com – Music for Everyone?


The other day I pointed out four reasons why Rara.com is worth checking out. While Rara.com certainly brings a fresh breeze into the market, I believe they will have a tough time. Here’s why:

Let’s look again at what lets Rara.com stand out in the ecosystem of streaming services. The biggest difference between Rara.com and the existing players is clearly the user interface, which is designed to be very easy and intuitive. In the launch presentation Rob Lewis, chairman of Rara.com, said that the market of digital music is still in its infancy and has not yet reached the mainstream. Players like Spotify, at the same time, do not address the mainstream market, but a small niche instead:

The graph shows the audience along the two axes “music knowledge” (from “music listener” to “music guru”) and tech knowledge (from tech laggard” to “tech wizard”). According to Lewis, a majority of existing music services (including Spotify, Napster, Pandora, but also iTunes) are “designed for people who know a lot about music and also are technically very literate” (i.e., the upper right quadrant), and fail to meet mainstream requirements. Rara.com, on the other hand, focusses on the remaining untapped market, that represents a majority of 80% of the entire market, according to their analyses.

Quite frankly, I think that Rara.com is not going to be able to get those remaining 80% of the market, and I’m going to explain why.

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4 Reasons Rara.com is worth checking out

Recently I mentioned the new streaming service Rara.com. Here are a couple of things about them that are quite interesting (the following is all based on their launch press conference video and their press release):

1) Innovative User Interface

Instead of a “boring” Excel spreadsheet look, Rara.com wants to give users a more visual user experience. So instead of typing in your artist and listening by album, as you would do with for services such as Spotify or Simfy, Rara.com presents a colourful interface where the user can browse playlists by the three categories moods (e.g., “Chilling out”, “Sunday Morning”), genres (e.g., “Pop”, “Rock”) and Best of (e.g., “Best of 90s”, “Best of 80s”):

2) Curated Playlists

The playlists on Rara.com are not user generated, or put together by some algorithm, but instead they are curated playlists:

rara.com also features a wide selection of expertly curated music channels to suit your every mood at the touch of a button making playing music online with rara.com as easy as switching on your radio or CD player.

One of these experts will be Imogen Heap, who is joining rara.com as associate editor, and also had an impact on the design of the service. According to Rara.com “many more respected artists [are] joining [the] Rara.com team”.

3) Introductory Pricing Strategy

While the monthly fee is the standard $/€/£ 4.99 per month for web-only and $/€/£ 9.99 for web + mobile access, Rara.com comes with an introductory price of 99 p/ct per month for the first 3 months. In contrast to Spotify et al. there is no ad-supported version of Rara.com.

4) Cooperation with Hewlett Packard

To get their feet off the ground Rara.com has entered a “global partnership” with Hewlett Packard to give them “instant scale”.  The world’s largest computer manufacturer will have Rara.com “preloaded on all their devices” (whatever that may mean, a link to the website?), and allow “instant access to music” for their customers,  introducing the Rara.com to an estimated 60m users a year.

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New music streaming service Rara.com

A new music streaming service called Rara.com (that’s “Lala” in Chinese I believe) launches in the US and 15 European countries. Check it out on Rara.com.

I do wonder though: With 10 Million songs at their fingertips – THAT’S the one they pick for their promotional video?!

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