Deezer had been doing for French music fans what Spotify has been doing for the Anglophone and Scandinavian audience.
Now, though, it's been 'improved' in a way which suggests the dead fingers of the music industry throttling another golden goose. You now need to have an account, accept your email address getting sold on to anyone Deezer chooses, and:
But here’s the worst part: some tracks on members’ playlists have simply become inaccessible, due to “territorial restrictions” imposed by the record companies. Hence, a song from a UK album version can in some cases no longer be listened to in France. The member then has to search for the track again on a French or international version of the album – assuming there is one.
The Deezer team have been trying to defend their position:
Jonathan Benassaya, one of the co-founders of Deezer, justified these changes in an interview (in French) with French IT news site PC INpact.
Seemingly unapologetic, he said: “We all want to say that with the internet there are no longer any borders, except that the music industry still reasons in terms of territorialities. We need to reassure this industry because without them we can’t live. Indeed, the Deezernauts are not happy, which is natural, but on the other hand Deezer needs to be able to grow and remain the star pupil, and as long as we’re like that we’ll be able to move forward with the industry. This industry is not well and, in such a situation, we have to accompany them.”
It must be a tricky position to play: you need the licences, and if those who offer the licences are idiots, you have to pretend to like their idiocy. Trouble is, the price of remaining star pupil is discovering that, outside the classroom, you start to fall behind everyone else.