Will Spotify competitor Rara appeal to the mass market?


Today a new digital music streaming service called Rara has been launched, which is set to rival Spotify. Hmm, we’ve not heard that one before…

What is it?

Aside from the fact it’s got a ridiculous name (which is both a skirt and slang for a posh person), Rara looks pretty interesting. The service offers users around ten million tracks, including all the major labels, and it sets itself apart from the rest by not aiming at the tech-savvy early adopters, but setting its sights on those with a casual interest in music.

Rara’s founder, Rob Lewis, said:

“The vast majority of music services today are designed for people who know a lot about music and are technically literate.

“If we’re going to make digital as mainstream as the CD was (which is what we need to do with CD revenues heading in the wrong direction), we need to reach people who know less about music and less about technology.”

How’s it different?

According to Rara’s research, these more casual tech and music lovers account for 80% of the potential streaming market and the service aims to reach them through simplifying its interface and collecting tracks into a UI full of colourful, customisable music hubs.

To set Rara apart as a respectable music discovery tool as well as a streaming service, the company has enlisted the help of a number of high-profile associate editors, kicking off with musician Imogen Heap, who’s huge online following (and talent, obviously) must be particularly appealing to Rara.

How can we get it?

Interestingly, Rara has teamed up with HP and will come pre-installed on all 2012 HP computers with a bookmark “quick-link” directing users to the web-based service straight out of the box.

As well as the browser based offering, Rara can be accessed as a mobile Android app too, with Windows Phone 7 and iOS apps to arrive sometime soon.

So we know you’re all mostly interested in how much it’s going to cost. Well, the first three months access will cost just 99p, and £4.99 for the months following. To add in mobile music-caching functionality to ease the strain on your data plan, those prices jump up to £1.99 for the first 3 months, then £9.99 for the months thereafter. End your subscription and a short “grace period” allows access to your saved playlists for a limited time.

Who needs a bit of Rara in their lives?

One of Rara’s main draws is its colourful, inviting interface, which displays its curated music. It’s simple and may appeal to those who have been turned off from iTunes or Spotify in the past because it looks a little confusing, but is anyone really confused by Spotify enough for a new simple offering to be created? I’m not so convinced, even some of my older relatives manage to use it with ease at the moment.

If you’re looking for something a bit different and want to get on board with Rara now before its big plans are announced early next year (there are some significant announcements coming at CES according to Rob Lewis), then give it a whirl. Otherwise stick with Spotify and iTunes for a few months to see how everything pans out…

Go visit www.rara.com now to give the service a try.

Becca Caddy