Deezer unveils new features to pull in more subscribers

The music-streaming service now has 5 million paying customers, bringing it closer to Spotify's 6 million. New features include a reworked algorithm, and curation by 50 music editors.

French music-streaming service Deezer is quickly planting stakes in different countries all over the world, and it just took the wraps off a couple of new features that it hopes will nudge it closer to its archenemy, Spotify .


If you haven't heard of Deezer, it's a seven-year-old company headquartered in Paris, employing 200 staff members globally. It's smaller than Spotify, which has 5,000 employees and was founded in the same year.

Yesterday, the Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez announced at a press conference in London that the company now has 5 million paying users globally, with 12 million active users per month. It's also added 10 million tracks in the past half year to make a database of 30 million tracks on its service.

To put that into context, in April this year, it had 26 million users, with 3 million of those paying.

Deezer's 5 million paying customers puts it very close to Spotify's 6 million (although that figure is from April, and could be outdated). Spotify said at the time it had 24 million "active" users accessing tracks, with 6 million paying customers. Its paying base has been estimated to bring in somewhere between US$360 million and US$720 million per year, based on subscription rates, not counting ad revenue of another couple of hundred million dollars.

Both Spotify and Deezer charge S$9.90 (US$7.97) per month in Singapore.

While smaller, Deezer raised a decent Series D round of $130 million in late-2012, and this appears to be going to its new round of features, as well as physical offices around the globe.

Tweaks to suit user tastes

Its new features include a reworked algorithm that will observe user tastes as well as listening habits to recommend new tracks. It will take into account how eclectic a user's taste is; for example, someone only listening to rock will likely get more rock music, while someone who listens to a range will be fed new and varied tracks, said Dauchez.

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What is more interesting to me, however, is Deezer's 50 music editors hired around the globe to handpick music that will land up on users' dashboards. Dauchez said this curation will be combined with the company's new algorithm to recommend tracks more accurately to users.

Deezer's also been pumping funds into stepping up its presence in Asia. While the service has been accessible in Southeast Asia since August last year, the company opened up a physical office in Singapore mid this year to more aggressively chase deals with telcos and labels in the region. Its head of label relations for Asia and Oceania, Dona Inthaxoum, sits in Singapore.

The company has a partnership with Malaysian telco Digi, which offers Deezer's users access to its tunes as dial-tone replacements for a subscription fee of 8 ringgit (US$2.52) per month.