NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A new streaming music service has launched in 16 countries (with more on the way) boasting international licensing agreements with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group.
The service, Rara.com is an ad-free, browser-based servce that purports to offer access to more than 10 million tracks for an introductory price of .99 cents a month. Additionally, a mobile app is available for mobile device streaming, but said app is currently only available for Android devices, though the company says additional mobile operating systems, including Apple's IOS, will eventually be supported.
Powered by cloud music provider Omnifone, Rara.com is aimed at enticing mass market consumers who have yet to venture into the digital music world rather than bleeding edge early adopters. In line with this goal, the company has chosen to adopt a very simple, browser-based delivery platform over the more featureful downloadable application model that competitors such a Spotify have chosen. According to a study by commissioned by Rara more than 70% of consumers have not purchased a digital track in the past 6 months and 60% have never purchased a digital track.
"rara.com has delivered a music service that taps into an entirely new type of music consumer," said Rob Wells, President of Global Digital Business for Universal Music Group. "Instead of competing with existing digital music services, it's designed for the mass market of consumers who have yet to do digital music at all."
While Rara has the support of the major labels, and claim to have similar license agreements in place with "leading independents" there have been some critics.
Indie trade association Merlin CEO Charles Caldas has taken Rara to task over their independent support.
"I’d be surprised to see who those leading independent labels are. From our understanding, none of the key UK indies are on the service and we’re not on the service, so I think I’d be asking them that question," Caldas told MusicWeek. "I doubt whether any of them would have a deal with them. Again, we don’t have a deal with them so that counts out Domino, Warp, Cooking Vinyl and a whole bunch of other ones. I’m sure PIAS and Beggars don’t have a deal with them either from what I know."
Rara's chairman Rob Lewis responded to Caldas' comments, telling Music Week: "We are surprised at some commentary suggesting that rara.com has deliberately not included the catalogues of certain independents in the global launch of rara.com today. This is not the case. rara.com has sought and is seeking to include every significant independent in the catalogue, giving independents access to the global scale rara.com offers. We look forward to continuing and concluding all such negotiations." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers