The Deezer interface

Deezer is way behind Spotify and Apple Music. But 7 million is 7 million.

CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht says that four years ago, 80% of Deezer’s revenue was telecom driven thanks to bundling deals with mobile operators. The majority of that funding came from telcos in France, where Deezer was born.

That’s slowly starting to change.

“Now 75% of the revenues are coming from self-pay subscribers, and France is less than 50% of revenues,” Albrecht told Music Ally. “It’s quite a dramatic shift.”

Deezer’s bundled subscriptions accounted for 49.5% of its revenues in 2014, according to filings for its now-canceled IPO.

Deezer capped off 2018 with a $185 million funding round in August. The company also launched its streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa in October.

Albrecht says Deezer has around 14 million monthly active users with seven million of those being paying customers.  The ratio of free listeners to paying customers is quite good for a music streaming service.

Late last year, Deezer CEO Americas Oscar Castellano told Digital Music News that the paid subscriber count was 6 million, while outlining an aggressive expansion into Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Albrecht says the company is approaching $400 million in revenue this year, with growth coming fast from direct paying customers.

The MENA region is a new area of focus where Deezer hopes it can dominate the streaming landscape.

Some of the funding from the most recent $185 million funding round came from Saudi Arabian investors.  Albrecht says he wants to be in MENA ahead of drastic consumer changes.

“Many people are going to leapfrog from no music – or limited music – to streaming,” Albrecht said.  “They’re not going to go through this chain of physical [formats] then downloads.”

He acknowledges that each country within the MENA region must be treated independently. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have vastly different musical tastes, for example.  Localized music for each country is a must.

Deezer has been competing with Apple Music in the MENA region for some time. In November, Spotify launched in the region. Local service Anghami has operated in the region since 2012, with more than 70 million listeners.