Deezer, the Paris-based streaming music service available in 182 countries (none of which is the United States), has announced a slew of features, stats, partnerships, appointments and intentions in a statement released today.
Of crucial importance -- and a surprising number besides -- to the company is its subscription stats, which have more than doubled over the past year to 5 million and which put it nearly neck-and-neck with Spotify, which claims a subscriber count just over 6 million but which is available in the U.S., something Deezer doesn't have going for it. The numbers have been aided, in no small part, by the hefty funding which Deezer received last year.
Services-wise, the main event in today's news is the company's new 'Hear This' feature, which will power discovery through a combination of analytics and editorial-- similar to what Julie Pilat revealed of Beats' upcoming Daisy service -- leaning on the company's "50 Deezer expert music editors spread around the world." In their release, the company claims 20% of its staff is focused on editorial and recommendation. The 'Hear This' feature will also be augmented by a new 'Explore' section. The new feature is only available to paying subscribers, which Deezer rather aggressively encourages experimenters to become; their free service is supplemented by ads and users' access to music is limited to two hours per month after a certain period of time.
Also of note is their upcoming desktop app for Macs which will integrate with users' iTunes libraries in order to provide their music across devices and platforms.
On the business end of things, Deezer announced it has secured 11 new partnerships with telcos, bringing the total to 25. The importance of these partnerships is hard to overstate. As a spokeperson for international mobile carrier Telefonica said recently after their company took a stake in Rhapsody: "As more customers adopt smartphones, the content they can have access to becomes even more important. This is why we are doing deals with the likes of Rhapsody so that we can bring compelling content offers to our customers."
Speaking to TechCrunch, Axel Dauchez also hinted at the company's plans for the less music-obsessed among us. “Right now, we are the best service for people who are in ‘music collection mode,’” Dauchez told TechCrunch. “But this is not all people. If you were a guy who used to, before 2000, buy two CDs per year you are not in ‘collection mode.’ You won’t contemplate a streaming service. We will adapt the service for these other users.” Dauchez also teased the company's intention to target those who skip Top 40 pop for more esoteric tastes.
And, finally, some new faces. Christopher Coonen, formerly of PayPal, has been named COO of Deezer Group. Gerrit Schumann, a co-founder of the music service Simfy, will join the company as its VP of Europe, excluding France.
Added all up, today's announcements bode well for Deezer's future prospects, especially its impressive subscriber numbers. Will a U.S. launch be far behind?