While most music streaming companies are based out of the United States, Rara.com finds its home base in London, UK. A newer competitor in the industry, Rara was founded in December 2011 and is operated by Jez Bell, the CEO, and chairman Rob Lewis.
While Rara definitely provides streaming to users streaming in the United States, it also boasts an excellent global market, reaching 32 countries around the world. Most of these countries are in North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. At first launch, Rara reached "only" 16 countries, but over its first three years in business, it grew to double that number. With such a wide customer base, users can access Rara in several different languages and take their music with them almost anywhere they go.
Powered by Omnifone, Rara offers customers a library of 22 million songs-and they add tracks to this library every week. They play both old songs and new releases and have vamped up their library with popular labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.
That's all interesting enough, but what does it mean to you?
It means there's a global, growing company out there that might just have the streaming plan you're looking for. When you stream through Rara.com, you choose between a Web account and a Premium account. With both, you enjoy ad-free listening and the ability to create personal playlists. But Premium (which costs $9.99 every month) offers two features that Web (only $4.99 a month) doesn't: offline listening and apps for your iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, or Windows 8 tablet.
What you have to decide is whether Rara's pros and cons line up with what you need in a streaming company.
Let's start with everything Rara is doing right.
First of all, regardless of the type of account you sign up for, you enjoy ad-free listening with Rara. That's a major plus for anyone who wants to listen to music without putting up with in-your-face commercials that interrupt your groove. And considering that, no matter what, you have to pay to stream with Rara, they're right to automatically relieve you of those ads.
Rara also streams on a decent amount of platforms, including Android, Windows 8, Web, and iOS. With their apps, you can listen to songs on a variety of personal devices, which makes it easier for you to take your music on the go.
Speaking of on-the-go, Rara also gives you the option to listen to songs without even connecting to the Internet. When you have a Premium account, you can download songs without any additional fees and listen to them in offline mode. A nice option when you don't have a WiFi connection but still need a beat.
That's not the only handy feature though. Rara has created a handful of cleverly termed features that make your streaming experience feel more personal, more connected, and more creative:
- Your "Favorites" list is a collection you continually add to of all your most prized tunes. You can easily access this list to listen to your best songs right away.
- "Great Playlists" is a collection of playlists that Rara's own music editors love the most. They compile this list to share what they believe are the best stations available.
- "Rara Radar" is the term the company uses for up-and-coming albums and artists users might be interested in. They use their "radar" to stay apprised of popular tracks and keep users up-to-date as well.
- "Just for You" is a list of songs Rara creates that is tailored to your personal preferences, which Rara builds based on your history of listening.
Rara also offers a nameless feature that lets you share your music with friends through social media as well.
One of the most wonderful aspects of Rara.com, though, is its website. The actual layout for streaming music and browsing the library is easy enough to use. But Rara takes care of its new customers and especially the newbies to the music streaming world. Their support pages include detailed instructions about signing up for an account, syncing Rara to your device, and other commonly asked questions.
But what makes them stand out is their step-by-step directions to use all their buttons and understand terms commonly used in the streaming world. This is a major advantage for anyone feeling unfamiliar with the technology side of music.
To give a fair report, despite how user-friendly Rara's website is, their customer support options leave something to be desired.
While other streaming companies offer live chats, phone calls, emails, and even tweets, Rara really only provides a public forum and a few email addresses for customers in need. Chances are you'll find the information you need through the public forum (where users can get online and post helpful comments, questions, and answers). But you might waste a lot of time searching and emailing for answers if not. Especially if your question requires immediate feedback, such as a technical problem, the lack of customer support options can be incredibly frustrating.
Rara.com's library may be 22 million songs large, which certainly doesn't sound like a con, but compared to most streaming companies that's not a very wide selection. While some competitors are boasting 30-something million songs, a mere 22 million can leave users wondering where some of their favorite tracks are.
Despite how globally widespread Rara has become, they're also a relatively new company, which can be a disadvantage too. With only three years of experience, Rara may still be too young for users who want a tried-and-true provider who has worked out the kinks and developed a more consistent approach.
The Bottom Line
With so many options for streaming your music, what makes Rara stand out? What gives them an edge in the competition?
Though Rara can serve any type of customer, you might especially appreciate their approach if you value a wide global market or if you're new to streaming music. With such helpful information available on their site, Rara has shown that they want their customers to feel comfortable with their services. And with access to 32 countries in only three years of business, Rara has proven that they can grow fast.
Especially if you're willing to pay for your music streaming, you can expect a decent song collection, high-quality sound, and personalization features when you use Rara. Despite the small amount of time they've been in operation, they are a prominent competitor in this increasingly popular industry.
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