Music-streaming company Deezer has announced the international availability of Deezer Elite, its super high-resolution audio (HRA) service.
Deezer launched the service exclusively on Sonos music systems in September, when the company entered the U.S. market for the first time. This move was Deezer’s attempt to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded music-streaming space, which includes Spotify, Rdio, and Beats.
Today’s news takes Deezer Elite outside the U.S. for the first time, and will see it arrive on Sonos systems in Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Canada.
Deezer was already available to Sonos users elsewhere in the world, and they’ll be the first to be offered the upgrade in audio quality — for no extra cost in the first year. The service will then be accessible to all users from March 19, 2015, though Deezer has yet to reveal specific pricing. Based on its $20/month pricing model in the U.S., however, you can expect to pay around double the price of a standard Deezer offering.
Founded out of France in 2008, Deezer is available in 182 countries around the world, and claims 16 million monthly active users — 6 million of whom are on an ad-free paid plan.
Deezer Elite offers 35 million tracks at lossless FLAC quality of 1,411 kbps, which is around four times higher than the maximum you can expect to receive on the traditional offering. But it’s one of a number of similar services that have sprouted up in recent times, targeting a potentially huge market segment that also likes to buy premium headphones and speakers.
Tidal launched in the U.S. and U.K. just last year, with a focus on high-quality audio — it streams at the same quality as Deezer Elite promises. And just last month, we revealed that Jay-Z was acquiring Tidal as part of a $56 million deal.
Elsewhere, Qobuz opened up beyond its native France in 2014, when it brought its ridiculously high-quality music streaming service to a number of European countries, including the U.K. and Germany. It offers music at around the equivalent of 2116.8Kbps, which it refers to as “Studio Master HD quality.”
So there is clearly a demand for high-quality streams, though for now Deezer is limiting its offering to Sonos customers. This limitation does make sense though, given that this helps Deezer target consumers it knows cares about the quality of their audio.
Deezer says it garnered 200,000 new users in the few months after it launched in the U.S., which isn’t all that bad considering the limited consumer base.