Music is often referred to as the universal language. And, as is the case with most clichés (including the following), it is such a common phrase because it is true. No matter where in the world you were born, what your ethnic background looks like, your culture, your native tongue, or what you do for a living, everybody understands and has experienced the power of music. It is one of the most widely beloved art forms in the history of mankind. You would be hard-pressed, I think, to find someone who says, “you know, I just never got into music.”
For many, music plays a crucial role in our daily lives. We listen to music while we drive, while we work out at the gym, while we party, while we grieve, while we clean, while we work – just about anything you do can be made better when accompanied by the right soundtrack.
And, thus, we often meticulously craft elaborate playlists to fit certain moods and activities. Maybe you have, for instance, a workout playlist filled with songs to pump you up and help you push through the burn of strenuous exercise. Or perhaps you have playlists for chill nights spent at home, ambient music to relax and unwind with. I, for one, have a lengthy sleep playlist of songs that help lull me into a deep and dreamy REM cycle. Whatever the case may be, it is nearly impossible to overstate music’s importance and strong, universal appeal.
This is precisely why you need to find the right music streaming service to fit your unique musical needs. Each music streaming app on the market offers a different vision for how music can be accessed. Some, for instance, rely more heavily on the emulation of radio (think iHeart Radio, Pandora, Last.Fm, etc.); whereas others allow for a more customizable and personalized experience (Spotify, Tidal, Sound Cloud). In order to discern which music streaming service is right for you, you must take a look at each one and see if it will be harmonious with the ways in which you prefer to listen.
Which brings us to Deezer. Based out of Paris, France, Deezer offers over 56 million songs to choose from. And although it may not get as much global attention or clout as services like Spotify or Pandora, it would be wise to get to know Deezer. With more than 14 million active monthly users, this is certainly no fringe app. So, let us dive in, shall we, and see what all the hype is about.
As is often the case with apps, websites, and streaming services, when Deezer was first developed, it was not called Deezer. In 2006, Daniel Marhely developed the first iteration of what is now called Deezer under the name Blogmusik. Marhely had a dream of providing people with unlimited music via streaming technology. And, so, fortunately for all of us music nuts, he quickly worked towards making that dream a reality.
It did not take long, however, for Blogmusik to be charged with copyright infringement by the French agency, SACEM. The site was promptly shut down in April of 2007. Marhely did not let this discourage him, though. By August of 2007, the site was once again up and running, this time branded as Deezer (a much better name anyway, if you ask me).
He struck an agreement with SACEM which said that he would pay off the copyright holders with money earned through advertising on Deezer; the agreement also dictated, for some reason, that Deezer must give its users the ability to download the songs that they streamed on Deezer off of iTunes, resulting in Deezer earning a commission on each purchase.
When Deezer proper finally launched in 2007, Marhely had not yet negotiated contracts with any major record companies. This, of course, resulted in an extremely limited library of available songs. It took more than two years, but eventually, Marhely was able to get the three largest labels in the world onboard: Universal, Sony, and Warner. In addition, Deezer also acquired the rights to music from several smaller, lesser-known labels, leading to the rich collection of music to be found on the service today.
The Deezer app has an impressive rating of 4.6 on the Apple App Store. This is due, at least in part, to Deezer’s intuitive and aesthetically pleasing design. The app is extremely user-friendly, making it easier than ever to browse songs, make playlists, discover new artists and tracks, and keep up with your favorite podcasts. The best way that I can think of to describe Deezer’s design would be to say that it is something like a cross between Spotify and Apple Music. It has all of the convenient functionality of Spotify with a very intuitive organizational structure, a la Apple Music. As far as music streaming apps are concerned, Deezer easily has some of the best designs on the market.
As I mentioned previously, as of the time of this review, Deezer offers 56 million songs available to stream and download. But that is not all that this service provides. Fans of podcasts will be happy to learn that Deezer also has a regularly updated list of all the best in streaming talk radio shows. Deezer is not just for music lovers, it caters to just about all of your audio streaming needs.
Plus, Deezer makes it super easy to discover new music. There is a setting called “Flow,” which offers personalized listening recommendations; as well as suggests new genres, artists, and songs based on your unique listening habits. If you are familiar with Spotify, this is akin to the Discover Weekly playlist, except for you can delve in and broaden your musical horizons whenever you please with Flow.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
As I’ve already said, the user-experience of the app is nearly perfect. There will be no learning curve whatsoever standing in the way between you and hours of uninterrupted listening with Deezer. You are not limited, however, to just listening to songs on your smartphone either. Thanks to Deezer Premium’s download capabilities, quickly and conveniently listen to your music on any device, making the desktop experience just as great as the mobile one.
Pricing and Plans
Deezer has three different plans to choose from; Deezer Free, Deezer Premium, and Deezer Family. It is always nice to see a streaming service such as this offer a free version, for those of us who are strapped for cash, and this service is pretty much what you’d expect. With Deezer Free, you have access to the entire library of songs; however, you will have to deal with ads, limited track skips, no offline mode, and strictly mobile listening.
The Premium plan, however, gives you unfettered access to everything that Deezer has to offer, including unlimited skips, no ads, and the ability to listen to content offline on any device you like. Deezer Premium is priced on par with most other services of its kind, at $9.99 per month.
Deezer family, on the other hand, is essentially Premium times 6. This means that you get 6 individual profiles, each of which is fully equipped with all of Deezer Premium’s capabilities. At only $14.99 a month, this plan is a steal.
Suggestions that I have for Deezer
I would like to see Deezer make it easier for independent and underground artists to place their music on the service, as well as be more frequently featured. Sure, Deezer does offer songs from plenty of indie labels, but I think it could be made easier for any band anywhere to quickly upload their music to Deezer as well. Spotify and Apple Music, for contrast, are both pretty good about this. I believe that Deezer should follow suit.
All in all, Deezer may just be the best music streaming service that you’ve never heard of. It is truly a hidden gem. I don’t know why it doesn’t get more attention on a global scale – perhaps they could benefit from a more active marketing campaign or two – but it deserves to be recognized for what it is. With more songs than both Spotify and Apple Music to choose from, plenty of podcasts, great app design, and some fun and useful features, Deezer might just be the streaming service I needed to convert me from Spotify.