Streaming is changing the way people listen to music. Rather than having all your favourite songs saved on an iPod or hard drive, millions of tracks are stored in the cloud and streamed to your device whenever you want to listen. Frustratingly, however, the world’s most popular streaming music service, Spotify is unavailable in Ireland because of licensing problems. There are some other smaller providers here but with the arrival of French rival Deezer, Irish music fans finally have access to a product on a par with Spotify.
Deezer was founded by Daniel Marhely in 2007 and now has an impressive 20 million subscribers worldwide. Deezer has signed licensing agreements with all four major record labels (Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal) as well as aggregators like Merlin who provide online access to unsigned bands and boasts an impressive collection of 15 million tracks.
Mark Foster, managing director of Deezer UK says what differentiates it from Spotify is the ease of access. Deezer is browser based which unlike Spotify means that you don’t need to download a client to play your tracks. As a result it is easy to play on any device, and mobile apps are available for both Android and iOS. Foster also believes that Deezer’s strong focus on editorial content which recommends 60 new tracks per week and helps promotes new artists gives it an advantage over the competition. The former record label executive said that one of Deezer’s central missions was “to help introduce people to new music and new bands”.
Foster admits that Deezer’s main competition is not from Spotify, or the much anticipated Google Music, but from piracy. “In order to attract users we need to offer them an environment for listening to music that’s better and easier to access than piracy,” he says.
How much does it cost?
Deezer has been available in Ireland since December 2011. Users can get a 15-day free trial (but need to supply credit card details) which can be extended by a further 15 days if you sign up via Facebook. For €4.99 a month users get unlimited access from a PC or Mac, the premium account costs €9.99 but allows access from a computer, plus two mobile devices and it also allows downloads which can be listened to offline for as long as your subscription is still live.
Where Deezer has seen huge growth is with its deals with mobile phone providers. When it signed a deal with Orange in France in 2010, subscriber numbers grew from 100,000 to 1.2 million within a year. Depending on the package offered by network providers, Deezer can be offered as an add-on or included as part of the monthly deal. The deals have proved popular with the networks as it helps them retain customers and Foster told DigitalTimes.ie that they are in advanced discussions with an Irish mobile provider and they hope to announce a deal before Deezer’s official Irish launch in June.
Independent developers displayed some apps already created including a smart TV application which allows you to listen to Deezer on your television in much the same way as Netflix allows you to stream movies and a DJ mixing toy for the iPad where you can scratch and mix virtual records on the screen. To promote ‘Open Deezer’ developers will get €9.99 for every subscriber that signs up through their app. Dauchez also announced the first Deezer Hackathons which will take place in Paris and Berlin this Summer, where developers will compete to create the best app and win a Nissan Juke. Full details and documentation for ‘Open Deezer’ can be found at developers.deezer.com.
Deezer is available worldwide except for the US and Japan where licensing laws make them difficult markets to enter but Dauchez believes that the real growth for streaming music is outside these jurisdictions. “There are no longer any geographical limits or technological barriers for innovation in Music,” he says.