French music streaming service Deezer will focus on local Arabic content in the MENA region in order to overcome fierce competition from global rivals YouTube and Spotify, according to CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht.
Deezer and Spotify’s MENA launches took place just three weeks apart, with the Paris-based firm having a head start in October.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Albrecht said Deezer is ‘not afraid’ of the competition as it focuses heavily on the region. In August, partnered with the Arab world’s largest record label Rotana to offer users a wide selection of Arabic hits and access to local content from music production group Mazzika and Saudi-based telecom provider Qanawat, in addition to 53 million tracks from global artists.
In the same month, it had raised $186 million in fresh funds from investors including the Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and French telecoms giant Orange.
“Our whole life at Deezer, we have been facing major competition from the likes of Spotify and YouTube. We’re slowly growing and there is always room for improvement, but we have very good products and hence are not afraid of [competition]. For customers in the region, we’re going to be the home of Arabic music,” he said.
“The main difference between Deezer and Spotify or whoever it is, is that we have the most Arabic music on our platform. The majority is due to our exclusive partnership with Rotana, the home of Arabic music. That’s our strength here and we’re taking this region very seriously,” Albrecht said.
Deezer will open its Dubai headquarters by 2019, followed by a number of regional offices in the coming years. The platform estimates profitability by 2021 as it is boosted by new markets including MENA.
Albrecht said Deezer has been going through a ‘big journey’ of change in the past three and a half years, having focused on partnerships with telecos to offer better customer service and product engagement, adding that ‘a lot of changes’ are yet to come to the platform.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.