Get prepared to add another subscription to your credit card bill: headphones.
Yep, Nura – the Melbourne-based Australian audio company behind the Nuraphone headphones – has announced its own subscription service, NuraNow. This world-first means the barrier to owning a pair of high-quality headphones is lower than ever.
NuraNow means you pay monthly for the headphones and you get a new device from the company every two years. According to a representative from Nura, once the 24 months is over, you get to keep hold of the first product, while still having the second. Unfortunately, if you finish your subscription, you have to send both back.
What happens if you want to cancel NuraNow before the 24 months is up?
Thankfully, there’s no lock-in. This you means you can cancel the membership with no additional fees, and the headphones will be deactivated. Then, you have 30 days to send them back. Problem is, you’re not going to get back any of the money you’ve already spent – meaning it’s probably best to complete a full two-year payment cycle.
In regards to the amount you pay in the membership scheme, you have three options:
- $9 per month with an up-front fee of $100
- $12 per month with an up-front fee of $30
- $15 per month with no up-front fee
And if they break or you lose them?
Well, Nura has a pretty sweet deal it refers to as “worry-free warranty.” If the Nuraphone breaks, it’ll replace it. If you lose them or have them stolen, it’ll replace them. If you accidentally damage them, you’ll get a new pair.
It’s important to note that you only get cover for a loss or accidental damage once per each two year period. Also, this only applies to the most recent pair of headphones you received (i.e. if you’re three years into your membership and now have two devices, you won’t have a warranty on the first device).
Despite the caveats (which, to be honest, aren’t that surprising), this is a pretty big benefit of the model.
So, why is Nura doing it?
Simply put, it’s a way of getting a weird and expensive product in front of people.
If you haven’t heard of the company, you may be aware of the type of headphones it makes: ones that offer a customized audio experience.
Basically, before you use the device, you take a listening test in order to create your own specific sound profile. This means the headphones are literally tuned to your ears. There are a range of companies creating products in this vein, but Nura is the most prominent.
On top of this approach to the listening experience, the Nuraphone themselves also have a strange design. Specifically, a combination of over-ear and in-ear headphones.
Have a look:
Now, everyone I know who has used the Nuraphone love them (including TNW’s very own Napier), but getting someone to this position is tougher than it seems. I mean, you either have to go out of your way to test them, or just shell out $399 to a company that doesn’t have the recognition or pedigree of a Sennheiser or Bose. The NuraNow subscription-model gives people intrigued by the Nuraphone – but too cautious to just buy them – the chance to try out a pair for themselves.
As far as things go, it’s pretty clever move. Just prepare yourself to be inundated with other companies offering subscription headphones, TVs, speakers, and, well, everything.
UPDATE: Made it clearer that you never actually own the Nuraphones, you simply keep them as long as the subscription is live.