Deez Music Streaming Services

I’m a religious consumer of the Digital Music News podcast.

Source: Statista

About two weeks ago, I caught the latest podcast episode, which focused on the growth potential of the Latin American digital music market. The featured guest was Oscar Castellano, CEO of Americas for Deezer, a French subscription-music service like Spotify or Apple Music. To be quite honest, before working in the music industry, I don’t recall hearing about Deezer. As it turns out, it’s quite the major player in the music streaming space.

According to a streaming service review, Spotify has more than 30 million songs in its library, which reaches 58 countries, while Deezer has 40 million songs that reach more than 180 countries. In the race for emerging market market share, Deezer recently announced a distribution partnership with Rotana, a Dubai-based media company in the MENA region.

All this said, I thought I’d be interesting to give Deezer a spin and see where the value proposition lies.

Right off the bat, two things stood out to me on the home page of the Deezer mobile app: My Flow and live radio. My Flow is essentially what My Mixtape is to YouTube’s music streaming platform. In my opinion, the discoverability aspect was mediocre. I felt that about 20 minutes into listening, My Flow would repeat an artist that was previously streamed. I’m personally a bigger fan of YouTube’s My Mixtape. The live radio option was pretty interesting. I haven’t used it much, but could see myself use it frequently when at work or commuting to/from work (especially the KEXP station). I’m extremely curious as to what Deezer’s profit margin is for the streaming of these live stations. After exploring the app a bit more throughout the last few weeks, I found that Deezer lacked a bit in the music library aspect (to my disappointment, the T. Rex library was missing the essential Electric Warrior album). In my opinion, Deezer’s unique selling proposition (other than its diverse set of audio content), is its audio quality and control. Much like Tidal’s value proposition (with the exception of ALAC which Tidal includes), Deezer offers 320 kbps MP3 audio on their Premium tier and 1411 kbps FLAC HiFi tier. The expansive selection of audio content and the control of audio quality looks to be a more affordable version of what Tidal offers to audiophiles.

In the above-mentioned Digital Music News podcast episode, Oscar Castellano, detailed that My Flow was going to play a significant role in the expansion of Deezer in LATAM. I could see that, along with its diverse selection of audio content, being vital motivators for LATAM consumers to select Deezer as their one-stop shop for music/audio streaming consumption. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Deezer LATAM market share, that’s for sure.

A Quick Update...

Fumigations suck.

My apartment building’s being fumigated for termites this week. I’m not one to make excuses for myself, but (ok, you can cue in the violins here…) because of the necessary preparations for the fumigation, I wasn’t able to write this week’s post. I know that life gets in the way sometimes, but I can’t help to feel a little guilty of not following through with my goal of creating a weekly post. That being the case, instead of promising a post once a week on my blog, I’ll be posting once every two weeks from here on out.

This extra week will also give me a bit more time to write up more fleshed out posts. I have a couple interesting posts in the pipeline covering topics from the UX of Amazon Alexa to Deezer, but again, I need a little more time to produce better content, instead of spewing the content out for the sake of having a post for the week.

All this being said, I thought I’d leave you guys with some thought-provoking figures I came across in Statista’s Digital Economy Compass 2018 report that was published early this year.

When it comes to biometric technology, I would have expected wearables to outpace smartphones until the market’s saturated. However, according to Statista, smartphones will outpace wearables in 2019 in terms of the share of the technology that will include biometric sensors of some sort.

What are the implications for health and fitness related companies? Clearly there’ll be more consumer data to collect, but, when looking at the evolving digital landscape from the music industry perspective, this type of data provides further opportunities to contextualize music/playlists - a obvious unique selling proposition for major music streaming players like Spotify and fitness-related startups like Studio, which are working towards building “exciting digital experience far beyond what a traditional treadmill offers”.

LATAM: Greatest Smartphone Use for Music

Source:  GS StatCounter

I came across the recently published 2018 IFPI Music Consumer Insight Report, which offers a snapshot of the role of music at different parts of our day and how music is driving growing adoption of technologies on a global scale, amongst other insights. When going through the report, I found a headline particularly interesting, The Highest Rate Of Smartphone Use For Music Is In Latin America. Knowing that Spotify’s been focused on high growth markets outside of the United States (where their facing steep competition) and that they recently announced a partnership with Samsung, in which “Spotify will become part of the set-up experience on Samsung devices”, I thought I’d check out the potential market for the android operating system market share in Latin America. Unsurprisingly, the two biggest players are Android and Apple IOS, with the Android OS having 85% of market share as of Q3 2018. With Mexico coming in at 93% of people using smartphones for music, Brazil at 92%, and Argentina at 89%, the whopping android market share undoubtedly places them in a better position to solidify their own music streaming foothold in Latin America. Touché Spotify.

Smart Speakers and The Consumption of Music

In a previous post, in which I announced my new position as Insights Strategist for Universal Music Group, I expressed an interest in the evolving media consumption behavior as a result of connected devices.

Source:  Edison Research

With the dawn of the internet of things came the introduction of smart cars, connected home automation devices, and wearable technologies among other nifty connected devices. While these gadgets are all fascinating smart technologies, none have taken hold in US households as much as smart speakers. In January 2018, smart speakers were being used by consumers that fell within the “Early Adopters” and “Early Majority” stages of the innovation curve. According to an Adobe Analytics study, almost 50% of US consumers will own a smart speaker after the 2018 holiday season.

The smart speaker revolution is undeniable.

What does this mean for the consumption of music?

In the same Adobe study mentioned above, 70% of the respondents reported using their smart speakers for music consumption, which makes it the primary activity followed by weather forecasting (64%), and alarms/reminder (46%).

In my personal experience, using a smart speaker seems to remove the friction when wanting to listen to music. When I want to listen to music, I don’t need to manually look up an artist, album, song, genre, etc. There’s a clear consumer pain point that was being addressed. However, since most smart speakers don’t have a screen, that means the results for voice queries for music have to be much accurate. If we were to look up an artist on a search engine or music streaming platform, we’re given several songs or albums to to choose from. With the lack of a screen to refer to, consumers are given the one algorithmic-driven result deemed most appropriate by smart speakers. That means that these smart devices have one shot to get the customer experience right and pull up the “right” song.

Keeping in mind choice paralysis (there are times when I want to listen to music, but feel a little overwhelmed by the vast catalogue of music out in the world) and as consumers interact with smart speakers in much more intuitive and natural ways (as opposed to written queries) the dependence on genre or mood queries will play a key role in music consumption. But, with the melting pot of music genres, how does one categorize the genre-bending band Gorillaz, for example? In an ethnographic study that Edision Research conducted, we can see the toddler asks Alexa to play “Elsa” and “Frozen”. Besides the fact that pronunciation is an essential factor for smart speakers to deal with (think about how many consumers might be mispronouncing an artist name or lyrics), the smart speaker device should comprehend that the “Elsa” and “Frozen” prompt means to play “Let It Go”. But doesn’t this change if there’s an artist named “Elsa”?

All this means that there’s going to be a lazer-like focus on getting the music metadata right to serve up the right music at the right moment.

This is an extremely fascinating time to be alive. Voice is here and seems to be the future.

P.S. While there might be some apprehension from digital immigrants to use smart speakers, isn’t it fascinating to think that the same toddler from above is going to grow up naturally accepting Alexa as a digital assistant?