Deezer has changed the course of its creative, signalling a shift in tone and maturity for the business, but it's not quite done yet - the challenger brand also wants to build a super personalised service to bring its vision of “streaming 2.0” to life.
Streaming is the music industry’s fastest-growing revenue source and while Spotify may be leading the market in terms of subscribers the speed at which the industry is growing means listeners are still ripe for the taking.
Muscling in on the market is Deezer, which started life in 2007 when 23-year-old French developer Daniel Marhely wanted to make it simpler for his friends to access their favourite songs. With 10 million users against Spotify’s 100 million, the challenger’s marketing has so far been used to lift brand awareness, but its latest creative marks a change of course and hints at its vision for a hyper-personalised future.
‘Flow My Music’, the first global campaign for the platform, seeks to cut through the noise and promote Deezer’s Flow feature which created customised curations based on users’ current tastes.
The campaign, created in partnership with PD3, comprises posters and videos and was inspired by real Flow users. The hero spot depicts a young woman on her commute using the service, saying it "knows what I want to listen to even when I don't".
The spots are soundtracked by Rag'n'Bone Man and Maggie Rogers - two emerging acts that are part of Deezer's Next initiative which has been designed to support fresh talent by bolstering their exposure and reach within the platform's walls.
The knife-edge rivalry in the streaming market is forcing players to innovate, and Deezer is no different. The firm's chief commercial officer Golan Shaked describes Flow as a “one click, lean back experience,” before adding future development plans include sophisticated geo-targeting and cross-application linking to tracks.
In a world where brands are increasingly turning to hyper-personalisation it is becoming an expectation from consumers rather than a nice to have. A recent study from McKinsey found that companies who put data-driven customisation at the centre of their marketing and sales revisions improved marketing ROI by 15 to 20%.
As well as individually tailored content based on audience’s listening habits, Shaked acknowledges the current trend for near-invisible search - heralded by the likes of Siri and now Amazon’s Alexa - by saying Deezer also wants to develop a “very easy to use” interface through one-click or voice command.
“Our vision is for Flow to embrace all of these elements by providing a hands-free music experience which guesses your circumstances and provides a constant listening experience,” he said.
“This is not a 16-song running playlist which may be irrelevant by the time you are back home,” he continued, saying the business wants to build out Flow so it can a phone's gyroscope to guess when users are in motion and change the tempo of the tunes accordingly. Through geo-location, Deezer also want to know when a user gets to their front door and adjust the music to what they like to hear.
“It will work by continuously switching from your mobile phone to smart TV - all through a single command. We see this as the future of streaming. Call it streaming 2.0 if you like,” he finishes.
Streaming 2.0 it may be, but the technology Shaked is describing is going to be appealing to marketers looking to reach the right users in the right place. In light of the recent transparency furore companies like Deezer and Spotify are well-placed to scoop up budgets previously afforded to other digital players given their unique dataset and an advertising proposition based around music, something people value.
When it comes to the value Deezer's own business model, the company is still having an "ongoing discussion" around the 'freemuim versus preimium' debate which is pertinent in the industry.
"At the moment we recognise that, given that streaming is still in its infancy, there is a place for a freemium offering," he said, adding this is especially relevant for the company's millennial audience who are "less willing to pay for a music service."
Last year, when Deezer launched the in the USA, the company limited the free trial experience to customers willing to provide credit card details because it was a more mature market; something Shaked said can "be seen as a first step towards limiting the free experience.
"As more people move from physical to digital formats and as payments for entertainment services become more acceptable, we anticipate that the balance will shift," he added, saying that as Deezer's premium userbase continues to grow the revenues will follow.
The brand's ambition to create an ultra personalised user experience that will cut through the noise will be central to this growth if it wants to compete with the big boys of steaming, and it's renewed approach to marketing could be just the boost the company needs to help it evolve from a challenger to a giant.