We’ve just spoken to Jez Bell, the newly (today – Friday 8th March) installed CEO of digital music service Rara. Bell moves over from Omnifone, where he joined as chief content officer a couple of years ago, and replaces outgoing Nick Massey after only eight months in the role.
Since being spun-off from Omnifone in late 2011, Rara has quietly rolled out into 33 countries, a large footprint helped in no small part by preload deals with global brands Lenovo and HP. In fact in terms of standalone subscription streaming music services, its reach gives Rara the second biggest territory footprint in the world after Deezer, which claims 180+ territories, with Spotify the third largest at 23 territories at our last count.
There is a battle developing for mainstream adoption of access-based music services on a global scale and the next few years will see big changes in the landscape as services compete for survival and uptake. In terms of global coverage Rara is well positioned, but must translate the footprint into user growth – something at the heart of Bell’s ambition: “This is an opportunity to take all the experience I’ve had and put it into the running of a business that feels just on the brink of greatness.”
Bell plans to capitalise on Rara’s territory head start and leverage existing licensing relationships to focus on a “strong and local” music policy. “Rara has 18 million licensed tracks and very strong local relationships with publishers and labels,” says Bell, a situation extending from its previous attachment to Omnifone, and the strong international licensing network that came with it. Another focus will be consolidating existing local partnerships and looking for new ones.
“We’ve got to market this right and make it a destination for everyone to use as their primary solution. Rara has a very broad hardware and OS base. We want to appeal to users who don’t operate in a single device environment anymore. You need a music service that follows your life across your whole technological footprint.”