Deezer makes future plans on the back of US$130m funding, hints at free services

10 Oct 2012

On Monday, Deezer announced a cornerstone investment of US$130m from Access Industries. Today, at Abbey Road Studios in London, the subscription-based music-streaming service detailed plans for this investment.

Access Industries bought over Warner Music last year, but Deezer has assured that the music service will remain completely independent despite the link to the music label.

Plans for the funding include global expansion, improved localisation and continuing investment in product innovation. To achieve this, Deezer plans to open offices in new and existing markets and will also grow its editorial team by more than 50pc.

Deezer also announced the launch of localised free services alongside marketing campaigns. This will be tied in with local music scenes through events and partnership and Deezer hopes it will encourage take-up of the subscription model.

Though the free service will be more for recruiting paying users, it could still be a very tempting offer for music fans to access Deezer’s catalogue of 20m songs. Knowing that 70pc of users in France who opt for a free trial become paying customers, Deezer is perhaps hopeful of the same conversion success in other territories.

Worldwide growth

Deezer also announced its launch in 76 additional countries today, bringing its global reach to 160 countries – more than any other digital music provider.

“We’re thrilled to be able to extend Deezer to music fans in countries such as Senegal, Cameroon and Indonesia today,” said Axel Dauchez, CEO of Deezer. “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.”

Deezer has its sights set firmly on growing music markets, such as South America, the Middle East and Africa, rather than the US, where customer acquisition costs are high and market conditions don’t allow for sustainable expansion. “We want to take new music to musically isolated countries, breaking down the old music distribution networks,” said Dauchez. “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.”

Updates to service

Deezer also showcased new features that are now available via the web service and the iPhone app, with an Android update promised in coming weeks. These include access to friends’ music libraries, playlists and charts; incorporation with Facebook’s Notification Centre and recommendations for concerts in the local area.

Users will also be able to submit their own playlists from which Deezer will select the best to appear on its local home pages each month. The updated apps will come with an improved interface, including a new navigation bar.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic