Streaming music service Rara.com launches in Singapore

February 5th, 2012 | by Chan Chi-Loong

Rara.com, yet another streaming music service, was officially launched in Singapore just about two weeks back.

The music service offers ad-free access to more than 10 million tracks, and will initially be offered at a rate of S$0.99 (for web) and S$1.99 (for web and mobile on the Android platform) per month in Singapore.

After three months, the price point will jump to S$4.99 per month for web and S$9.99 per month for web and mobile respectively.

Take a look:

My initial reaction was: meh. I’m not really impressed after I visited the site.

I expected to have some kind of trial or download demo, but that wasn’t the case. Besides having to sign-in with an email account, you have to put in your credit card and pay to see what you can get.

No demo or trial.

Now, music streaming is not a new business at all, and for anybody late coming to the party, you would expect the new kid-on-the-block to come up with demos to persuade people what the fuss was about.

Yes, some of the more dodgy music streaming sites have gone out of business, or have changed business models, but there are still dozens of alternatives — and quite a few are free — out there.

That’s not even mentioning all the strides telcos and mobile vendors have made in making streaming music available over the air, like SingTel with AMPed, and all the experiments Nokia and Sony Ericsson had with mobile music services.

And based on Rara.com’s EULA, the music tracks come laden with DRM, something that is a pet peeve of mine for content issues.

I understand that it is a necessary evil, but I’m not comfortable with the portion on DRM in their EULA.

Quoting directly from Rara.com’s EULA:

“Because the rara Application includes security components, special rules and policies apply. You agree to abide by the rules and policies established from time to time by rara media. We will apply such rules and policies generally in a non-discriminatory manner to users of the rara Application, and such rules and policies may include, for example, required or automated updates, modifications, and/or reinstallations of the rara Application to address security, interoperability, and/or performance issues. These updates, modifications and the like may occur on a periodic or as needed basis without notice to you.

All streaming content is encrypted and, where your Subscription allows you to cache Content for offline playback, that cached Content is protected by digital rights management (DRM) technology to protect the Content against unauthorised use. You must not do anything to disable or circumvent the encryption of the DRM technology.

In addition, you understand that the rara Application is capable of monitoring itself for security-related and tamper-detection purposes and for communicating information to rara media about security incidents. You hereby consent to the operation of the rara Application in this way. Your copy of the Software and your access to certain applications that communicate with it are subject to restriction and/or revocation (such as being shut down) for security purposes or according to consistently applied Content-protection policies. You understand and agree that this may result in Content that was previously available for use being unavailable thereafter.”

I don’t like not knowing what DRM software I’m installing on my PC or device, but more importantly I’d like to know what information it’s sending to Rara.com without my notice. Clarifications on the DRM in the EULA might help.

Yes, Rara.com may have secured international licensing agreements with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group and has a large 10 million-plus track database. It may be available in 20 countries around the globe, and is available in Singapore, unlike Deezer, Pandora or Spotify.

And yes, the music streaming industry is not an easy one — anyone remember Soundbuzz, who was one of Singapore’s first online music store but went out of business about two-and-a-half years back?

But that doesn’t change the fact that, for a latecomer, Rara.com feels pretty meh to me on first impressions.

And given that I cannot try the service without paying money, I’ll stick with Grooveshark, Last.fm and Musicovery for my music streaming needs.

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5 Comments

  1. Dominic says:

    Chan, two points you should consider:
     
    1. rara.com is a browser based streaming music service not a download service, so you are not downloading anything (files or DRM software) to your PC.
    2. Grooveshark is currently being sued by all major record labels – so your choice of music service is not aligned with legitimate music consumption and artists right to get paid.

  2. justme says:

    so, you basically saying you haven’t really seen the service, but you read the EULA and seen the video and just reviewing the offering not the actual product. It just will cost you 99c to make proper review of it.

    • Chiloong says:

      Struggling indie game makers bother to allow potential customers to try their stuff via demos.

      Musicians, increasingly, let potential customers hear snippets of their songs online before buying.

      Asking customers to buy software services without a demo is like taking us back to the 80s.

      And with so many music streaming services out there that do allow trials (e.g. Rhapsody), I do not see why I have to pay to see whether I like the service.

      I’ll agree it’s inexpensive, but that’s not the point.

  3. Anony says:

    Subscribe to a VPN located in States or Europe etc and you can get , Pandora or Spotify and the likes…

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