Music streamer Deezer launches in Israel

Following the acquisition of Shazam by Apple, Deezer also launched its song recognition feature, “Song Catcher”, three months before planned.

Music app Deezer was launched in Israel this morning at an event in Tel Aviv. The app, which has 43 million songs from around the world, will offer tens to hundreds of thousands of Israeli songs.

Following the acquisition of Shazam by Apple, Deezer also launched its song recognition feature, “Song Catcher”, three months before planned.

The app has had a soft launch in Israel in the past few weeks. It offers three tracks: a free service that involves exposure to advertisements and gives basic sound quality; a service at NIS 20 monthly that offers access to all content without advertising at MP3 quality; and a premium service costing NIS 40 monthly with CD-sound quality. Customers who sign up for the premium service will receive it for NIS 1 for the first three months. For the sake of comparison, Apple Music is offered in Israel at NIS 20 monthly for a single user, and NIS 30 monthly for multiple devices.

At today’s event, Golan Shaked, chief commercial officer at Deezer, which is based in Paris, unveiled a song identification feature similar to that of Shazam, which is being bought by Apple Inc. for $400 million. Another feature that Deezer emphasizes is “Flow”, a series of algorithms that learn users’ tastes and plays for them matching songs automatically without the user having to choose them. Deezer’s ability to be operated by voice through Google Home was also demonstrated.

According to Shaked, the app is competing in a rapidly growing market, which has gone from $1.4 billion in 2013 to $6.5 billion this year. The forecasts for 2020 range between $12.3 billion (Goldman Sachs) and $16.4 billion (hedge fund PSAM). Deezer currently has 16 million users worldwide, 6 million of them paying customers. The dominant music streaming company at present is Swedish-based Spotify, which in September reported 60 million paying users and 140 million users altogether. Spotify is still not officially available in Israel, but it is expected to start operating here next year. Apple Music has 27 million paying users and millions more using the app on a free trial basis. Other prominent players are Amazon, Google, Pandora, and Tidal, which is available in Israel.

Whereas in Scandinavia 40% of the population pays for music streaming services, and in the US about 12%, Deezer says that the figure for Israel is lower than 1%, which gives it room to develop. Thanks to an investment of €100 million from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries two years ago, Deezer is expanding internationally.

Omri Dolev, CEO of Lev Group Media, which represents Deezer in Israel, spoke at the event of the company’s commitment to producing content adapted to an Israeli audience and of planned investment in Israeli content to be produced at the company’s offices and distributed on the app. He would not be drawn on the number of existing Israeli songs on the platform, but merely said that contracts had been signed with Israel’s major music companies.