When Daniel Marhely developed Deezer, then called BlogMusik, in his Paris home, he wanted to give music fans unlimited access to music via streaming. Little did he know that his idea would turn his fledgeling little startup into one of the biggest players in the world of music streaming today.
Teething problems Success doesn’t come overnight, and not without its challenges. When the site was launched under the BlogMusik in 2007, Marhely ran into trouble with the French agency SACEM over copyright infringement, as he had yet to sign deals with record companies to stream their artists’ music. BlogMusik was subsequently shuttered, but after reaching agreements with various record companies and linking to iTunes where users could buy the tracks they were listening to, the site re-emerged as Deezer just later in 2007.
Major support While deals were in place with record companies, Deezer still lacked the support of the four major record companies - Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner - and thus limited in terms of the content they could offer. However, after two years of negotiations, the majors and a slew of independent companies were on board, and the site was able to offer nearly eight million tracks. Clearing this important hurdle caused Deezer’s user base to skyrocket, going from just under 800,000 users to more than seven million users in just over two years; an impressive feat for an app that was built in a little bedroom somewhere in France.
Freemium to Premium In the years since, Deezer added a number of services, introducing advertising on the app in 2008 and a subscription service in 2009 to try to increase revenue in order to cover the enormous licensing fees owed to record companies. After a lacklustre reception, the subscription service was tweaked to include a freemium service, also partnering with telecommunications providers to increase traction, and premium subscribers increased to over half a million per month by 2011.
World Domination By the beginning of 2013, with an established subscriber base of more than three million, a strong catalogue of tracks and a growing monthly user base in excess of seven million, the company decided to set its sights on expanding its reach outside of Europe, into territories in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America. While they achieved the desired success in most of these territories, the notoriously difficult US market took incredibly focussed efforts and clever strategies, however, by July 2016, the company added the USA to its list of 187 supported countries.
No overnight success Many people look at successful startups and think that their success came overnight, something which in most cases can’t be farther from the truth, and Deezer is a great example of this, in fact as far as apps go, they achieved success relatively quickly. In the almost 10 years since Daniel Marhely started with the idea in his bedroom in France, it’s taken an incredible amount of hard work and determination to make the company a success, and the work continues. With investors hedging their bets on the app’s success, the pressure is on for the Deezer team. Considering the many obstacles they’ve overcome over the years, there’s no doubt that they’ll take this in their stride.