International music streaming service launched in MENA in October after attracting $168m in funds from investors, including Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Compan
Global French music streaming service Deezer expects to be profitable in three years, according to its chief executive, boosted by new markets such as MENA, where it launched last month.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Hans-Holger Albrecht said the brand is focusing on strengthening its presence in the region, but estimates profitability by 2021 following its expansion.
“There are very few businesses where you have profitability before investment. We’re not going to be profitable now, but in three years we do expect to be profitable. We’re in new markets where the opportunity is huge,” he said.
“This year, the goal for our investors is not profitability. They want us to focus on growing very fast,” he added.
Deezer allows users to listen to music from global record labels including Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, but also focuses on local content.
Three months ago, it signed a distribution agreement with Arabic record label Rotana to offer users more regional music.
The partnership will give Deezer an edge over global competitors such as Apple Music and Spotify, which launched in MENA last week.
Deezer’s library currently boasts over 53 million global and local tracks, making it the largest one in the industry according to Albrecht.
“Apple and Spotify offer mostly global artists, but our position is to focus on local content production and hence our biggest challenge is to learn more about the region and find out what people want to listen to,” he said.
The streaming platform is also working on building a local team in line with its plans to open a regional head office in Dubai in 2019, followed by more offices across MENA.
In August this year, it raised $186 million in funds from investors, including Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company and French telecom giant Orange.