Deezer, the Paris-based streaming service which entered the U.S. market in September with its audiophile-targeted Deezer Elite product, has acquired Muve, the music streaming service owned by Cricket, an AT&T subsidiary that provides prepaid mobile service.
Muve will be shut down next month, on Feb. 7. Ahead of that, Muve users' data -- libraries and playlists -- will be migrated over to Deezer. Cricket customers who opt to use Deezer will be offered an extended trial of the service through March 31st.
Deezer plans to offer its mobile-targeted service for $6 per month, a not-insignificantly lower price point than other subscription streaming services like Spotify, which typically charge $9.99 a month for unlimited ad-free listening.
The price point is indicative of Deezer's larger strategy of targeting specific segments of streaming markets -- Deezer Elite for high-end listeners, Stitcher for talk radio, Deezer for Cricket for lower income listeners. "We're following a strategy of going after market segments," Deezer CEO Tyler Goldman tells Billboard. "The U.S. is a broad market, and there are listeners with many different needs. Most services have gone with a broad offering for all users... and generally haven't ended up with a lot of subscribers."
Goldman notes that by adding Muve's over 2 million users to its (unreleased) count of subscribers from Deezer Elite, the company will become the number two streaming service in the U.S., behind Spotify's 6 million. On-demand streaming made plenty of noise in the music marketplace in 2014, jumping 54 percent as total album sales dropped 11.2 percent, according to Nielsen Music.
The move to acquire Muve means Deezer is positioned on opposing ends of the streaming market -- high-end listeners for Elite and lower-income users through Deezer for Cricket -- leaving the large middle as a juicy target for the not-so-nascent-anymore service.