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Deezer Appoints Jeronimo Folgueira as New CEO

Jeronimo Folgueira
Courtesy of Deezer

Jeronimo Folgueira

Current CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht will step down in June and join Deezer’s board of directors

Deezer has hired Jeronimo Folgueira to be its new CEO, the company tells Billboard. Hans-Holger Albrecht, who has led Deezer since 2015, will step down and join Deezer’s board of directors. Albrecht will remain CEO through the end of June, with Folgueira taking over the position on July 1.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join Deezer,” Folgueira said in a statement. “They hold a unique place in our hearts and Deezer’s team has built a service that is the perfect companion to people’s daily lives. Deezer is a key player and contributor to the fast growth of music streaming around the world. We have a highly competitive platform with unique features that listeners love. That means we’re in a great place to accelerate our growth and capture many new opportunities, which will benefit both artists and music fans. I look forward to getting to know the team and writing the next chapter in the company’s history together.”

From 2015 to 2019, Folgueira was the CEO of Spark Networks, the online dating conglomerate that owns Christian Mingle, Jdate, and Zoosk among others. During his tenure, Folgueira quadrupled the Berlin-based company’s annual revenue to 250 million euros ($304 million) in 2019, before stepping down.

Albrecht says Deezer has grown its revenue by more than 300% in the last five years, and the platform now averages over 600 monthly streams per active user. “With the support of all shareholders and partners, a passionate team of 600 people have built the fourth largest global audio streaming service in the world,” Albrecht said in a statement. “We have a clear strategy in place to deliver long-term, sustainable growth and value for shareholders, artists and users.”

The French streaming service, largely popular in Europe, has 16 million monthly active users and is available in 180 countries around the world. Owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries (which also owns Warner Music Group), Deezer was one of the earliest services to embrace high-fidelity streaming, launching its high-fidelity tier in September 2014, long before the current rush to promote better sound quality began.

Deezer cut the price of its hi-fi tier from $20 a month to $15 after Amazon Music HD launched at the lower price in September 2019, but with the recent price decreases to $10 a month for hi-fi streaming by Amazon and Apple Music, Folgueira will have to determine whether to match the rate offered by a pair of trillion-dollar companies and aim for scale or attempt to maintain Deezer’s margins at a less competitive price point.

With Spotify preparing its own hi-definition service that will arrive in the coming months, an era of increased competition among music streaming services awaits Folgueira in his new role.