When will the music streaming wars end?
Philip Ellison 16 October, 2015 at 12:10
Another week, another slew of headlines declaring this or that music streaming service “the one to watch.” Perfectly timed for the expiration of those three-month Apple Music free trials, two new companies are keen to get our attention.
The first is Deezer, which filed for an IPO on Euronext (the Paris stock exchange) last month and announced that it will be trading as DZR from the end of October. Deezer has racked up over 6.3 total subscribers since it was founded in 2007, although only 1.5 million are actual paying customers. The rest get Deezer for free through various partner offers, such as a year’s free subscription when buying telecoms services (this is, in fact, the only way many people even hear of Deezer). Working with carrier companies is partly how Deezer sets itself apart from rivals like Spotify, in addition to pursuing a more global audience.
However, according to TechCrunch, Deezer’s user base growth “peaked at the end of 2014”, and the company “still has to work on its product to convince all these people that they should be using Deezer over Spotify, Apple Music, their iTunes libraris or even CDs.”
Then there is Electric Jukebox, which launched in London this week. Electric Jukebox differentiates itself by targeting older users who don’t quite ‘get’ streaming. Their device, which is equipped with one year’s free streaming, plugs directly into the user’s television and can be controlled via remote, creating what they hope to be a simpler interface.
“Streaming is niche,” says CEO Rob Lewis. “This is mainstream.”
Really? Just to clarify, the CEO of a music company is claiming that neither Apple, Spotify nor YouTube’s music offerings count as “mainstream”. Sadly, this isn’t the only bizarre takeaway from the launch event which hinders the service’s credibility. Three unfortunate facts pointed out by just about every journalist present were that a) plans for long-term monetisation seemed a little unclear, b) the campaign features zero A-List musicians, and c) the product itself looks more than a little like an adult toy.
For the time being, it doesn’t look like the dominant players in this area have anything to worry about. But wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to keep deciding whether we want to switch our platform alliances every other month?