French streaming service Deezer have fired a shot across the bow of global streaming industry leader Spotify as the war for the hearts, minds, and dollars of the global music community intensifies.
Buoyed by a $130 million investment from Warner Music Group’s owner Access Industries, the biggest startup funding round ever in France, the streaming service is now looking to accelerate their global expansion and transform the way in which music fans across the world access and enjoy a catalogue of tracks that now numbers over 20 million.
Deezer CEO, Axel Dauchez, held a press conference at London’s Abbey Road Studios overnight where he outlined plans for investing the new funding, highlighting four priorities for the funding investment.
The start up will be opening offices in both new and existing markets around the world, and will seek local partners to improve the localisation of tis service, including the growth of its editorial team by over 50% to provide even more locally relevant content and features.
“Deezer offers a leading and truly global music service,” says Thomas Heymann, Country Manager for Deezer’s Australia/New Zealand operations. “We have a long-term sustainable business model serving all players in the worldwide music industry.”
“Australia and New Zealand play a major part in Deezer’s global strategy and it is local artists and music fans who will benefit from the new funding and the global roll out.”
Deezer have also announced an international free service similar to rival Spotify, and will be investing in local music life through events and partnerships to raise brand awareness.
The free service will be a recruitment channel to encourage free service users to convert to paid subscription, rather than a model in of itself. It will be shaped for each individual country according to the competition that exists in that market.
The news comes as technology giant Microsoft announced they were getting in on the action with the launch of Xbox music streaming, and tech icon Apple are also said to be looking at launching digital streaming radio although have hit a few roadblocks over licensing.
Deezer will also be heavily investing in product innovation and new user experiences to make the technology powering Deezer as cutting-edge, open and accessible as possible, and to keep it a step ahead of its rivals.
To support its vision Deezer announced the live launch of the service in 76 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The new services brings Deezer’s geographical reach to 160 countries worldwide – more than any other digital music provider.
Deezer say they will continue to focus first on growing music markets, rather than the US, where customer acquisition costs are high and market conditions do not currently allow for sustainable expansion – news sure to disappoint American music lovers who have been holding out for the service to launch stateside.
“We’re thrilled to be able to extend Deezer to music fans in countries such as Senegal, Cameroon and Indonesia today,” said Dauchez at Abbey Road. “But it’s not a case of ‘one size fits all’.”
“In addition to operating in 20 languages and transacting in 24 currencies, a team of professional music-lovers worldwide is dedicated to recommending the best music for each territory. This local approach is strengthened by exclusive partnerships with mobile operators in every key country, with 14 mobile telecommunications partners already in place and a further six to be announced during the year.”
Dauchez added, “We want to take new music to musically isolated countries, breaking down the old music distribution networks. We’re confident that by getting more people to try the service – including those not yet aware of the subscription model – Deezer will become the new way to listen to music worldwide.”
Deezer also showcased its new, personalised user experience built on people-powered music discovery. Now live on Deezer’s web-based service and mobile application, the experience champions Deezer’s unique focus on editorial curation, giving its users what it thinks is the best recommendations worldwide.
Some of the new features include featured playlists hand selected by Deezer based on user recommendations from fellow users, local concert listings alongside playlist recommendations, the ability to connect with other Deezer users and share playlists, and extended Facebook integration which will bring Deezer in Facebook’s Notification Centre.
“Deezer is about real music usage, global community building, active interaction and meaningful connection between artists and music fans,” adds Australian representative Thomas Heymann.
“We’re committed to providing the best CRM and open API tools in our industry, which are entirely designed to give artists the most effective promotional support and music fans the most compelling music experience possible.”
He went on to add “Our local editorial teams will be at the spearhead working closely with artists, labels, festivals, venues, media and blogs … anyone really that is serious about Australian and New Zealand music.”