Deezer is launching its music service in the US through a partnership with wireless audio system vendor, Sonos. The offer, called Deezer Elite, will stream 80% of its 35million track catalogue in FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) at resolution comparable to the CD (16bit, 44.1 kHz).
Deezer is offering a promotional price of $9.99/month for those who sign up for a full year. The standard rate for the service will be $19.99/month. There are no details on how long the promotion will last.
Deezer is currently available in 222 territories worldwide, but has adopted a ‘US last’ strategy as the France-based service has elected to focus on more green field territories rather than fight for share in the most competitive on-demand music market in the world. This approach turned Deezer into the worldwide number two on-demand music service with five million paid subscribers in Q4 2013. By contrast Spotify was on 10m paying subscribers as of Q2 2014.
In the US Deezer has opted for a tightly focused offer that centers on a niche group of consumers who are both interested in lossless audio and have a Sonos system. The approach is markedly different to the approach it has deployed in other markets which centers on standard bitrates and often uses operator deals as a way to generate awareness. Instead, Deezer’s US service has a clear differentiator from the likes of Spotify, Beats and Rdio in ‘high quality’ audio and, thanks to the partnership with Sonos a potential target market that is both likely to be invested in quality and more likely to accept Deezer Elite’s higher average monthly fee (the common rate for a single-user subscription in the US is $9.99 per month).
However the strategy is not without risks as: