Pandora competitor Raditaz reemerges as CÜR Media, raises $9.6 million

Remember Raditaz, the personalized radio service that tried to compete with Pandora(S P) by building stations for each and every neighborhood of your city? The service abruptly went offline in November, promising to relaunch with a “bigger, better, world-class music product.”

Fast forward four months, and there’s a first sign of life: Raditaz reemerged as CÜR Media(S CURM) Monday, announcing that it has raised $9.6 million through a reverse merger, resulting in an alternative IPO. CÜR wants to use the new cash to build the next version of its service, which will be called CÜR Music and is scheduled to launch this coming fall. “We are working on something that is different from anything else out there,” said CÜR Media CEO Tom Brophy during an interview late last week.

Brophy didn’t want to go into too many details about the upcoming service, but he told me that it will have a unique social angle, and that it will be positioned in between personalized radio services like Pandora and fully-fledged on-demand music services like Spotify. Asked about the target audience of that service, he said: “It really is people who used Pandora and want something more.”

Brophy told me that CÜR Music will be part of a bigger movement, catering to consumers that value the convenience of access to music more than ownership of digital downloads or physical goods. “The world is moving towards access versus ownership,” he said. But that move hasn’t always been an easy one. Music services like Rhapsody and Rdio have struggled to attract a big-enough audience to make the numbers work, and market leader Spotify has raised hundreds of millions to get where it is today.

I asked Brophy if it isn’t challenging as a small startup to make a dent in this environment. He agreed, and argued that it was one of the reasons why Raditaz had to evolve. “For us, to continue to be involved (in this space), we have to do something disruptive,” he said.