Auf wiedersehen, Simfy. The rise of Spotify and a lack of licensed music from some of the three major labels has forced the German-based streaming music company to raise the white flag and wind down operations. As Music Business Worldwide reports, Warner Music Group pulled its catalog in February, though Universal confirmed to Billboard its catalog was still on the service.
In a message on the company's website, Simfy acknowledges that as of May 1 it "only offers a very limited number of songs" and encourages subscribers to take advantage of a "special offer" and join France-based service Deezer. A source with knowledge of the situation says Deezer is paying Simfy a small fee for every use Simfy can convert to its service.
Launched in 2010, Simfy was once Germany's largest music portal, offering online and cached streaming of over 25 million songs in its home country, as well as Austria, Switzerland and South Africa. It offered a free trial and premium subscription tiers of €5 and €10-per-month. Now when you try to sign up or simply look at pricing on the site, you are directed back to the pitch to try Deezer.
Simfy's fortunes began to shift following the 2012 entry of Swedish-based streaming service Spotify, and it has subsequently fallen behind Deezer in the German market as well.
Yet despite Simfy's fall, the German digital music market is booming and in 2014 saw an increase of 78.6 percent over the previous year. Streaming and downloads now account for 25 percent of the local music market, according to data from BVMI, the German music industry association. But as is the case elsewhere, complaints are also rising that the streaming services aren't paying enough to artists, composers and publishers.