BMW gets Europe's first in-car music streaming service

Rara Music – suppliers of Europe's first dedicated in-car music streaming service – has announced plans to roll out across the entire BMW range via the car company's ConnectedDrive tech.

Users can access the 22-million-track library in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and The Netherlands through their BMW's on-board entertainment system, without the need to connect a compatible smartphone or dongle.

A SIM card is embedded into the head unit: it's used to stream music and download it on the car's built-in hard drive.

Alternatively, the service can be accessed via a connected smartphone, tablet or computer, with apps available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone operating systems.

Rara Music was initially available in just the BMW 5 Series earlier this year as a £325 extra.

Rara CEO Jez Bell said: "BMW Online Entertainment with Rara represents a step change in the way we consume music in the car; no more scratched CDs or dusty old tapes in the glove compartment, no more having to plug in your mobile".

Rara Music launched two years ago as a 10-million-track mass-market streaming service. It has since undergone rapid growth, and its 22-million-song library is now available in 32 countries.

Rival streaming company Spotify, meanwhile, has made attempts to increase on-the-go popularity by offering its mobile service for free, while also launching Spotify as part of Ford's SYNC Applink.

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.