Spotify competitor Deezer debuts desktop client, premium offering

November 5, 2009

[France] Paris-based Deezer is not waiting for Spotify to expand into new territories and is moving forward with its own plans pretty quickly. The French startup recently raised $9.5 million (€6.5 million), bringing the total invested into the company to nearly $20 million, and today the company’s launching its previously rumored premium offering and a couple of new products.

Basically, the Deezer website, where users can listen to streaming music and create playlists, will remain free of charge while users who would like better sound quality (up to 320 kb/s) and no more advertisements can opt to pay €4.99 per month for Deezer HQ. The Premium offering (€9.99 / month) is the most interesting though, since it gives users the opportunity to download a full-fledged Adobe AIR desktop application and lets them gain access to their accounts through a wide range of mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch and multiple Android-run and Blackberry devices.

The company commissioned a study that showed more than 80% of its user base was keen on getting mobile access, while 40% was interested in better sound quality. But the Premium offering in my opinion is interesting because it’s basically a way for users to have seamless access to their account and playlists whether they’re opening Deezer up in their browsers, start the cross-platform desktop client or listen to their favorite music on the go. It’s the type of convergence I keep wishing every online music service would offer.

That said, I’ve been playing around with the desktop application for a couple of hours and ran into some bugs that need to be ironed out before it’s good enough for daily usage. I also tested the iPhone application on my iPhone 3GS and that one didn’t have any noticeable flaws. The Premium offering comes with a 7-day free trial by the way, so I suggest you try it out and see if it suits your needs.

Deezer’s catalog is currently about 4.5 million tracks strong and also boasts a good number of web radio stations in a variety of genres. And since it has signed licensing agreement with all the majors (Sony BMG, EMI, Warner and Universal, among others) there’s no immediate risk of the service shutting down because of legal disputes, something we’ve seen happen far too often to date.

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