Friday, November 22, 2013

Deezer music streaming is coming to the US next year

Rich McCormick/The Verge

Music streaming service Deezer will launch in the US in 2014. French company Deezer currently has five million paying subscribers in 80 countries worldwide, a figure that puts it close behind similar service Spotify — based in Sweden — which boasts more than six million paying users. Deezer will join a crowded market of subscription-based streaming music services that also includes Rdio, Google Play Music, and MOG.

The market is a notoriously difficult one in which to make a profit. Spotify's losses could still be growing after the company's valuation of $4 billion stayed the same for two years in a row. Rdio has had to lay off staff members to "ensure a scalable business model." Pandora — the largest music streaming company in the US — recently replaced its CEO after struggling to turn a profit.

The French streaming service had previously held back from joining the turbulent US music market due to the depth of competition from similar services, so to avoid being overlooked, it's likely Deezer will look for a strategic partnership. The company has successfully used this approach in the past: a partnership with mobile provider Orange in Europe means the service comes pre-packaged as part of many of the network's cellphone bundles.

US networks such as Verizon and AT&T are obvious targets for a partnership as Deezer expands, but TechCrunch reports the company would also consider joining with a firm outside the telecoms industry. According to Digital Music News, that partnership could even become a takeover. Its sources say Microsoft is considering acquiring the service outright to gain traction in an industry where it has failed to make an impact in the past.

The same sources suggest Deezer will reach the US in January 2014. The company's co-founder, Daniel Merhely, is less concrete in his proclamations. Speaking to the AFP, he said "the launch date is not final," but that 2014 would be "an American year" for the streaming service.

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