Business Model, or Death Wish? Streaming Upstart rara Partners with Toshiba and CD Baby…

Yet another music streaming service is trying to take over.  But is this a defensible business model, or a death wish?

Actually, rara is a paid service available in 32 countries. It works online, on mobile apps, on Sonos, and in the 2013 BMW 5 Series…

Today, rara announced their desktop app will be preloaded onto millions of Toshiba Windows 8 computers and tablets in Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.  rara also announced they have licensed 2 million tracks from CD Baby.


3 Responses

  1. David

    I use and find it pretty good. At the time I signed up I think the only other streaming service available in the UK was Spotify, and to join Spotify you had to first join Facebook, which I didn’t want to. (Though I do now sometimes use Spotify.)

    To begin with Rara had a much smaller catalog than Spotify (the Big 4 labels and not much else), but they have subsequently made deals with Merlin and other independents (and now apparently CD Baby). There are still some things available on Spotify but not Rara, but also vice versa, so I use Rara as my main streaming service and Spotify (free) to fill in occasional gaps. Rara is also good for curated playlists and channels.

    I haven’t seen any published user numbers or financial results for Rara, but their business model seems to be the opposite of Spotify: instead of going for huge user numbers and trying to convert them to paid subscribers, Rara seem determined to screen out freeloaders from the outset. They offer a cheap but not free trial subscription (£1 or $1 a month for the first 3 months), which must be effective in screening out the kind of people who will never pay for music on the internet, and time-wasters who will just check out anything if it’s free. Rara’s parent company, Omnifone, is one of the few companies that actually makes a profit from online music services, so they seem to know what they are doing.

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