Len Blavatnik's Access Industries Invests $130 Million in Deezer

Deezer - H 2012

Blavatnik calls the company, which has 2 million paying subscribers, "a state of the art music subscription service with enormous potential."


Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, which already owns Warner Music Group, has made a $130 million investment in French music streaming and subscription service Deezer.

The companies on Monday didn't detail how big a stake Access will own, but said the cash infusion makes it a "cornerstone investor" in the Spotify-esque company.

Deezer, which provides software-free music discovery and subscription services, said it is profitable and currently has 2 million paid subscribers. It also said it is offering 20 million tracks and has attracted a total of seven million active monthly users who have produced 100 million playlists.

The company, which has focused on European and emerging markets rather than the big and competitive U.S. and Japanese music markets, offers unlimited access to a catalog of 20 million tracks available on any device for a monthly fee. Free users get limited access every month.

Subscribers pay a few euros per month for unlimited access or more for unlimited access and premium features. In the U.K., for example, the premium service costs £4.99 ($8) per month, while the premium+ service costs £9.99 ($16).

After launching in various markets last year, Deezer introduced its services in Canada, Australia and New Zealand in April before adding Colombia and other countries this summer.

"One year ago, we launched Deezer worldwide," said Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez. "We now operate across every continent and have 2 million paid subscribers...We’re very pleased to receive this endorsement from an investor of Access’ stature."

He added: "With such a partner, our proven growth and our track record in profitability, Deezer is on the right track to becoming the leading digital music service worldwide and representing 5 percent of the music market by 2016.”

Deezer plans to use the Access investment to pursue what it called its "vision of the future of music." Details on the firm's geographical rollout and latest product updates are expected to be unveiled at London's Abbey Road Studios on Wednesday.

Access founder and chairman Blavatnik called Deezer "a state of the art music subscription service with enormous potential."

Deezer said it has been profitable since 2010 "thanks to its dual approach to attracting music fans from around the world - both directly through its partnership with Facebook and indirectly through major partnerships with local telecommunications providers, such as Orange [U.K., France, Poland, Romania, Ivory Coast, Mauritius], Deutsche Telekom, Telenor [Hungary, Montenegro, Thailand], Millicom [Honduras] and Belgacom [Belgium, Luxembourg]." It also said its focus on growing markets, rather than on the competitive U.S. market, has allowed it to make money.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai