Wednesday, March 15, 2017

French retailer Fnac announces strategic alliance with Deezer | UNLIMITED | CMU


French entertainment retailer Fnac has announced a “strategic alliance” with streaming service Deezer, which is good news for everybody. Well, it just reminded you all that Deezer still exists, so that’s good news, right? And who doesn’t like some good news?

Under the deal, Fnac is expected to wind down its own digital music offering and instead promote Deezer to its customers, and to customers of the consumer electronics chain Darty, which it acquired last year. Deezer, meanwhile, will promote Fnac’s ticketing service to its users, and the two companies will work together on promotional events in France.

At one point French firm Deezer was seen as the main competitor to Spotify in the on-demand streaming market, certainly in Europe. But in more recent years, of course, Spotify has grown to be much bigger in terms of its userbase, while Apple Music quickly outgrew Deezer to become the second main player in paid-for streaming. Meanwhile the Deezer company endured the embarrassment of having to abandon a premature IPO halfway through the process, but only after revealing specifics about its user numbers.

Nevertheless, Deezer is probably still among the top five paid-for streaming services, and remains a significant player in the French market in particular. Its main backer these days is Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik. The Fnac deal doesn’t include any equity, though the retail group – 15% of which was bought by Universal Music owner Vivendi last year – says it may take an equity position in the streaming firm down the line.

Confirming the strategic alliance, Fnac Darty CEO Alexandre Bompard said yesterday: “We are proud to announce this ambitious agreement, which marks a strategic landmark for Fnac. Deezer is the ideal partner in the field of digital music distribution. Together, we have worked to ensure that this partnership will be beneficial for our customers and will drive growth for both companies”.

Meanwhile Deezer’s CEO in France, Alexis de Gémini, said: “This partnership is excellent news for Deezer and Fnac, for market players, and for music fans everywhere. We are delighted, as the number one streaming service in France, to combine our music expertise and technology with the market leader for the distribution of cultural and technical products. This coming together of the physical and digital worlds can only be beneficial for both companies and the end consumers”.


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