Billboard International Power Players 2014: Deezer's Axel Dauchez


Axel Dauchez




Ask Paris-based CEO Axel Dauchez when France's in-demand international music-streaming service Deezer will enter the United States and all he says is, "There is a great chance this year." While the industry speculates about Deezer's entry into the biggest music market, Dauchez's cohorts are proving that paid-for music on foreign shores is on the up. The 5-year-old venture is already in 182 countries worldwide. The "freemium" multiple-device (from mobile to smart TV) service has licensed more than 30.6 million tracks from the majors, indies and rights-management firms. The 12 million monthly active users can access free unlimited music for 12 months. They include 5 million paying subscribers, more than double the number in 2012, who commit £4.99 ($8.20) or £9.99 ($16.20) monthly for the ads-free Premium and Premium+ packages. "We've positioned ourselves as a paid-for service, which is in tune with what rights holders want," Dauchez says. The company was profitable until 2012, when Warner Music Group owner Access Industries invested $130 million that is being used for growth costs: "We don't spend tons of money just to build equity value -- we're building a sustainable business." Other goals include enhancing the music-discovery features. Dauchez emphasizes that Deezer hasn't been avoiding the United States. "If we had started in the U.S., we would have been a U.S.-centric company. Instead, we wanted to embrace the complexity of the world."