Astro has introduced Raku, a homegrown music streaming service that focuses on online radio services. It is similar to Last.fm, only instead of American radio shows listeners get to listen to Astro owned station. Also like Last.fm, it only caters to local viewers and cannot be used outside its home country.
The service is completely free for users, who are asked to sign in with either Facebook or their Astro ID. However, extra content is offered to those who sign in with an Astro ID that has been linked to smartcards. The Raku site itself does not specify what kind of content this is and we will keep you updated if we hear anything about what the premium offerings are.
At the moment, Raku exists on both Android and iOS via app found in the respective app stores; and can be accessed through a browser at raku.my. Interestingly, the web version of the service can be used without actually signing in. Guests are provided the same access to music and radio services as other listeners, but lack the option to favourite playlists.
The current music selection is rather limited, with most contemporary music coming from listening to radio programmes. It is unknown if Astro will add individual songs and albums like Spotify; or if it will be made available for international listeners. In the present state, it appears that Malaysians staying overseas are unable to use the service to tune into their favourite local radio stations.
On an important note, Astro has stated that a Windows Phone version is being developed, although no release date has been announced.