Chances are you’ve already picked your preferred music streaming service by now, but you’ll have another to consider next year when French startup Deezer make its debut in the United States.
The company has avoided the U.S. up until now, citing too much competition, with Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music All Access, and many others already offering subscription-based music streaming services there. But having already amassed over 5 million paying customers in 185 countries worldwide, it’s ready to do battle with the big guns.
“The launch date is not final yet. But 2014 will be an American year for us,” Deezer co-founder and CTO Daniel Marhely told the news agency AFP.
Deezer’s success in France has been helped by its partnership with Orange, which bundles Deezer subscriptions with its smartphone plans for a small fee. It provides the company with a nice revenue boost, and gives Orange a small competitive advantage to attract new customers.
Marhely refused to rule out the possibility of joining forces with another major telecom provider to tackle the American market, but he did dismiss rumors of a Microsoft buyout.
So what has convinced Deezer to finally bring its service to the U.S.?
“It’s a real loss for us not to be” in the United States, Marhely said. “The big partners, the big media brands operate from there. We need to be there to exist.”
Deezer costs Europeans €9.99 per month — the same fee charged by Spotify for its premium subscription service. But Marhely knows the company needs to do more than just match prices and offer the same catalog of music if it wants to get ahead of its rivals in the U.S.
“We must differentiate the product,” he added. “We must bring something more.”