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21 January, 2014 - 11:23 By Tony Quested

Spotify rival raises funding


Young Cambridge UK technology company Psonar – hailed as the next Spotify – has raised more than £200,000 investment through Cambridge crowdfunding neighbour SyndicateRoom.

Investors in the crowd have backed the pay-as-you-play digital jukebox company through Cambridge’s own crowdfunding platform.

The lead professional investor was 2013 Business Angel of the Year runner up David Ryan.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, founder and CEO, SyndicateRoom,said that while subscription services such as Spotify, Deezer and Rdio cost around £120 a year, Psonar’s unique model – where users pay from just 1c/1p/1€ per play – was a surefire hit with the crowd.

He said: “Psonar has certainly been a hit with our crowd! Their unique blend of music streaming and the pay-as-you-play model lowers the barrier to entry for music lovers who don’t fancy shelling out on hefty subscription models.

“There’s a huge audience of digital natives out there who’ve grown up with streaming, but expect to only pay for what they want, when they want it. For this audience, traditional models of ownership – e.g. buying tracks from the Apple Store – doesn’t cut it any more.

“SyndicateRoom is delighted to be part of Psonar’s exciting journey, and to have offered private investors the chance to invest in this exciting opportunity alongside experienced business angels – including 2013 Business Angel of the Year runner up David Ryan – who are putting their own money on the line.”

SyndicateRoom’s unique blended model means 75% of the funds came from professional investors, with the rest from smaller investors investing as little as £500.

Psonar’s cloud-based service lets music fans stream the songs they want to hear on their mobile phones, paying per track using pre-paid credit. Just as mobile phone top-ups revolutionised the world of telecommunications, so Psonar hopes to have a similar effect on the growing music streaming industry.

Billions of people worldwide want to stream music, especially on their mobile phones, but at an annual cost of £120/$120/€120 for services such as Spotify, Deezer and Rdio, the cost for some is just too high.

Psonar removes that barrier to entry, “aiming to serve the disenfranchised majority of music fans who want access to on-demand streaming, but who cannot afford subscription streaming,” according to Psonar CEO Martin Rigby.

For as little as 1p per play users can listen to the tracks they want, on a pay-as-you-go basis, buying small amounts of credit using a card or their mobile phone.

An innovative gifting option also allows users to send playlists to other people that they can play immediately in any HTML5 browser without sign-in or sign-up.

Psonar is available through iPhone, Android and Blackberry 10 apps, as well as an HTML5 web player. The platform is already live in the UK and Ireland, with 1,400,000+ tracks (390,000 tracks from Universal Music and 1,000,000 from independent labels).

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