There’s no shortage of competition when it comes to streaming music services, and Deezer’s entrance into the U.S. market is less than a year old. The France-based company initially came to the country via a high-quality audio service, Deezer Elite, which is intended to serve the market of audio quality snobs that primarily listen to music from home audio systems in their living room. It later bought up talk/news/podcast service Stitcher Radio, which drastically improved Deezer’s distribution channels. And now, it’s closing in on mobile listeners.
With both the Stitcher purchase and the launch of high-end music streaming service Deezer Elite, Deezer’s strategy has been to focus on giving consumers a more diverse set of options for streaming audio content than are available from rival services from Spotify, Rdio, and Rhapsody. And today’s announcement about Muve is no different, as Muve has traditionally served consumers that don’t want to spend a lot of money and only listen to music on their smartphones. Muve was first started by Cricket as a perk to help attract people to its no-contract monthly cellphone service, having amassed 2 million paying subscribers.
As part of the deal, Deezer will begin offering Muve as a standalone service for $6 a month to Cricket customers who subscribe to at least a $35 monthly cellphone plan. Muve will also give users the benefit of Deezer’s vast 35 million song library, an option to listen to Pandora-style smart radio stations, and access to full streaming of tracks from Deezer’s on-demand song library. (Previously, Muve allowed people to download digital tracks to their phone but didn’t offer to stream those tracks.) Current Muve subscribers will also have their entire music library and listening data ported over to the new Deezer-led service and will be able to access Muve on both iOS and Android-based devices.
Deezer said it also plans to offer Cricket customers a free ad-supported version of Muve, which will be restricted to its smart radio feature. But considering that for just $6 you can essentially upgrade to something that rivals Spotify, most people probably won’t bother with that free option.