Music must be social, or risk simply being no more. Such was a key message at internet gathering LeWeb today.
By James Martin
Music streaming service Deezer went global; Facebook reaffirmed its Open Graph’s importance for music discovery; and music sharing app Soundtracking opened up to Spotify and Rdio via Android today, at LeWeb, Paris’ annual gathering of the internet’s movers and shakers.
CEO Axel Dauchez (photo) notably announced Deezer‘s global rollout. The French company, owned by telco Orange, will be present in 200 new territories worldwide by February, claimed Dauchez… but not in the US or Japan.
Why? As Deezer’s CEO had told French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur earlier today, “music has always been concentrated in seven countries: the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, the UK and Australia. These countries, however, only represent 20% of global music consumption.”
“There is a lot of fog around the US market,” Dauchez told LeWeb’s audience: “there’s no growth and margins are low. So we want to aim for the 900 million smartphones being used worldwide, rather than the 160 million being used in the US.”
Why is the company so confident? “We’re profitable in France. We’re a €50m euro revenue company, and our 300% growth has helped offset the decline in physical sales here. Now, we want to be the first ever truly global music service. We’ll be the only service available globally on Facebook too. It’s taken 6-8 months of hard work to complete that integration.”
This integration will be a key factor in Deezer’s worldwide expansion: global uptake will be helped not only by deals with local telcos; but above all by leveraging Facebook’s virality, notably with a trial service. “If 1 million people try it in Russia,” said Dauchez, using the Open Graph “they can become 3 million in 3 months.”
Editorial will also be key to Deezer’s international success, said Dauchez: the company has split the world into 33 zones, to serve each one with tailor-made content.
So how does Deezer see the future of music? “Like in any content business, the ownership model is dead,” said Dauchez. “There is value for ubiquity access on all devices. iTunes locked everything up; now music is unleashed. In maybe 5 years, the total music market’s value could well be higher than in 2000; but the geographical revenue split will be totally different.”
Joanna Shields (photo), who heads up Facebook’s European operations, also underlined the importance of social for discovering new content. To moderator Loic LeMeur’s comment that “Deezer and Spotify’s Facebook integration changed my perception of music,” Shields, who admitted to being a musical neophyte, said “I’m discovering music from the new generation” since her company’s recent music streaming synergy.
Last but by no means least, Steve Jang (photo) presented the latest version of Soundtracking, his company’s app, which is “the most-shared music service on Twitter and Foursquare,” he said. It has attracted 1 million users in 10 months’ existence.
The app, which allows you to tell your friends what you’re listening to on iTunes on your iPhone via Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, is now available on Android, with two key differences: you can now ‘soundtrack’ songs you’re listening to on Spotify or Rdio; and as they’re not on iTunes, friends you share these songs with can play them in full.
Even self-confessed Apple fanboy, moderator MG Siegler, admitted the Android version was better than Soundtracking on iPhone: and with 200 million Android phones now activated worldwide, music app developers would do well to take note. “We see a ton of fans that’d love an app like Soundtracking, so we see Android users as a large market,” said Jang. Look no further…