Streaming platforms - Focus on Deezer

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The largest French player in the streaming market in terms of subscriber numbers, Deezer is a must-have store, especially if you’re looking for a French-speaking audience. Any questions you might have about it, from its origins to its features to the way it pays artists and other rights holders, are answered for you below.

Where does Deezer come from?

The site was launched in August 2007, shortly before its Swedish counterpart, Spotify, opened to the public. It was created by Daniel Marhely and Jonathan Benassaya, who was still a business-school student at the time. When it started, Deezer was 100% free, generating all its revenue by broadcasting ads during the listening sessions of its subscribers. It was the first French free-listening site to sign an agreement with a collective management organization, the Sacem.

After a subscriber has been using Deezer for two years, the store proposes a paid option (10.99€ per month) without any ads, and limits the listening hours of the free plan, while imposing an ad every 15 minutes. This same formula is still retained for new users and Deezer is now available in more than 180 countries, offering a repertoire of more than 90 million tracks, playlists and podcasts, with 7 million subscribers signed up by 2019.

Deezer is a French pioneer in the music streaming market. The store has been offering its subscribers free listening to tracks with commercial breaks since 2007 and unlimited, uninterrupted listening for 10.99€ per month since 2009.  

How do I get my music on Deezer ?  

To create and access your Deezer account as an artist, you either go through a digital distributor like DistroKid, TuneCore or CD Baby, or through your label if you have one. The objective of these partnerships between Deezer and your distributor or label is to offer a rich and easy-to-explore repertoire to its subscribers.  

Speaking practically, you use a service called Deezer for Creators, available online or via the mobile application of the same name, which you can share with your label/manager depending on your situation. The process has two main parts: first, you design your profile, and update it before any new release; second, you broadcast your tracks and follow their popularity via the data collected by Deezer.

The creation part is very simple and consists of your profile picture, your banner, your name and your bio. These elements are the window that you present to people who visit your page, so take care to ensure they are in harmony with your music! You can also fill in a status to be published on your page – a good way to keep your fans informed and to get their feedback. Finally, it is possible to create your own playlists – a way to share not only your sounds but also your own musical discoveries in order to build a connection with your listeners.

The data analysis tool is free and gives access to a lot of information about who listens to the tracks you broadcast on Deezer. It helps you target your audience based on this information, and promote your music based on it. For example, you could plot your next tour destinations based on the location of your listeners, or target certain social networks based on their sharing habits and ages.   

Deezer for Creators is the streaming site’s dedicated counterpart for artists, labels and managers. It allows you to create your profile and update it before a new release, then to follow its popularity via the data reported by Deezer. The objective: to give you the keys to interact with your fans.

How does Deezer pay the artists?

Exactly like Spotify, Deezer pays the rights owners after keeping about 30% of its profits (from paid subscriptions and ads): i.e. the collective management organization or Bridger, the labels and the digital distributors. Usually you get 100% of the royalties if you are self-produced with a distributor, but the split with a label depends on your contract.

No figures have been published by the platform, but the blog Trichordist has used data from 2019-2020 to calculate how many cents an artist earns when one of his or her tracks is streamed: $0.0056, or 0.0049 cents. This is an average to be taken with a pinch of salt, because the result varies depending on the contracts with the labels and the number of rights owners.  

Why does it vary? Because Deezer distributes the income to its partners according to the percentage of listening that each represents. Knowing that for all music streaming platforms combined, just 1% of artists accumulated 90% of global listening in 2019, the inequalities are significant.  

However, the CEO of Deezer has been saying for the past few months that he would like the platform to switch to an alternative financing mode based on pro rata, like its auxiliary, SoundCloud. This would mean streamed artists are paid according to the number of listens to their tracks and how many subscribers they have, not simply according to the total generated and market shares.

Deezer pays the rights owners after keeping about 30% of their profits, i.e. the collective management organization or Bridger, the labels and the digital distributors. Generally, you get 100% of the royalties if you are self-produced with a distributor, but for distribution with a label, it depends on your contract.  

If you want to know more and exchange with other artists who have been there, don't hesitate to join our Discord server or to contact our team on hello@bridgermusic.io

What do I need to remember ?

Deezer is a French pioneer in the music streaming market. Deezer for Creators is its counterpart, dedicated to artists, labels and managers, whose objective is to give you the keys to interact with your fans, thanks to its personalization and listening data analysis features. It is estimated that an artist recovers 0.0049 cents for each time one of his tracks is played.

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