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What is Deezer?

  • 06 November 2020, Friday
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Deezer, launched in 2007, is a French online music streaming service like Spotify, Apple Music, and Napster. With more than 14 million active users globally — including 7 million paid subscriptions — it is arguably one of the largest music streaming services in the world. Deezer boasts a catalogue of more than 56 million tracks, 52 million of which are in the CD-quality, FLAC lossless format. Available in 180 countries, it’s popular in countries and regions where music streaming is still not widely adopted by consumers, making it the perfect place to get your music discovered in the far reaches of the world.

Deezer’s roots began in 2006 with Blogmusik, a website started by founder Daniel Marhely to give unlimited access to music through streaming technology. After heavy pressure from French collection society SACEM for copyright violations, the website shut down in early 2007. Out of the ashes, Deezer was born, officially launched on August 22, 2007, by founders Daniel Marhely and Jonathan Benassaya, with a promise to pay the artists and rights holders fairly. In its first month, the company rapidly gained over 700,000 users. Today, the company has over 14 million active users and offers songs, podcasts, and other content from artists and podcasters around the world.

For over a decade, Deezer has been the market leader in France — and at the time of writing this guide, they are the most popular streaming platform in Latin America, with a particularly big user base in Brazil. It’s also a top streaming service in Germany.

How does Deezer differ from its competitors?

On the surface, Deezer is a lot like Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, Qobuz, Tidal, Napster, or any other online streaming service. Music fans go to Deezer to listen to their favorite artists by streaming music to smartphones, computers, SmartTVs, video game consoles, or any other device that has an internet connection and a Deezer app. Unlike Beatport, iTunes, or Amazon MP3, Deezer is not a store, so it’s not a place to sell tracks or albums.

How does Deezer work?

Like many other streaming services, Deezer is funded via a subscription model. That means that customers have the choice of listening for free via a freemium, ad-supported model or pay a monthly fee for a premium subscription-based model. The freemium account, Deezer Free, allows listeners to play songs with advertisements inserted every few songs. With the premium subscription, users get ad-free listening and the ability to listen offline.

Deezer has two other premium subscriptions: Deezer Premium and Deezer Hi-Fi. Deezer Premium is comparable to Spotify, allowing streaming via compressed, high quality MP3s at up to 320 kbps. Deezer Hi-Fi costs a little more, but listeners can enjoy CD-quality streaming via the lossless FLAC format, making it more like other audiophile-driven platforms like Qobuz and Tidal — something that Spotify doesn’t offer yet.

On top of offering a lossless streaming service, Deezer is also differentiated by its wide global reach. While Spotify is only available in 79 countries, Deezer wraps its arms around the globe with offerings available in a whopping 180 countries (see available countries). Plus, it’s also the most popular streaming platform in Latin America, particularly in Brazil.

Like Spotify, Deezer has its own playlists, curated by expert editorial teams — but because everyone is focused on pitching to Spotify editors, Deezer is not as saturated. That means if you take the time to pitch to the Deezer team, you’ll have a better opportunity of being featured on their platform.

Plus, great news for DIY artists and independent labels: Deezer will soon be rolling out its user-centric payment system (UCPS). This system is designed to reduce unfair revenue gaps within the digital music industry – more on that in chapter 2.4.

Finally, podcasts are beginning to be a higher priority on Deezer’s agenda, too. We’ll be looking into how Deezer is using podcasts to focus on global music scenes later on in this guide, so hold tight.

How do I get my music on Deezer?

To get on Deezer, you can’t upload music yourself. To ensure that listeners only have quality content that meets Deezer’s standards, the only way to get music on Deezer is through a digital music distributor, like iMusician.

It’s easy to distribute your music on Deezer via iMusician. Just select your audio files and project artwork, and upload them to our app. From there, pick a release date, and you’re ready to roll. If you release through iMusician, your music is not only available on Deezer, but will also be found on the other major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, plus local shops like popular Asian shops KKBOX, and genre-specific shops like Beatport.

What is prohibited on Deezer?

Artistic expression is a right — and Deezer is a platform that encourages musicians to get their voice heard. That said, this is not a place for illegal, explicit, or hateful content; there are certain rules that must be followed. Any content that Deezer finds to break these rules will be removed or filtered from the platform.

Prohibited content includes:

  • Content that is protected by copyright or royalties. If a copyrighted track is uploaded without the copyright holders’ knowledge, or if a sample has not been cleared with the owner of the sample.
  • Content which incites violence against any gender, race, sexual preference, religion, or nationality.

Can remixes or cover songs be submitted to Deezer?

Deezer does accept remixes — but with a few caveats. First, if the song you’ve remixed is not yours, you will need to get authorization from the copyright owners of the original version (author, composer, publisher). You’ll also need to get permission from the owners of the original audio recording (this is usually the label that produced the track). Note that if you have used part or all of the original recording, your track will fall under the ‘remix’ category. So if you’re looking to upload your techno club-smash of Ariana Grande’s latest single, make sure you get permission beforehand.

With cover versions, rights differ depending on a few factors. If the original songwriters come from the United States, you’ll need to get a license from a collection society like Songfile. It’s a pretty easy process with payment based on the number of units sold or streams played. If the original songwriters are not from the United States, you can simply upload your release through your distributor. That said, the holders of the original rights can remove your cover version if they want.

What makes a song a cover? If the lyrics, melody, or basic arrangement are identical to the original version, your song is a cover, the only difference is that you are the performer. If you decide to change the lyrics, melody, or basic arrangement, the song is no longer considered a cover. Your track is an adaptation or an edit that needs the clearance from the songwriters.

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