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.
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.