Len Blavatnik, who bought Warners a while back, has invested about 80 million quid in Deezer, the music streaming site.
Is Blavatnik a shrewd investor? Besides the way he lobbed cash into Warners, which doesn't really suggest a man able to set aside sentiment from a long-term outlook.
Well, he put cash into Top-Up TV.
Yes you do, Top-Up TV. They had that advert with the gnomes in it a few years back. They base their business on the idea that when people buy a Freeview box to avoid having to subscribe to TV services, what they really mean is they desperately want to be able to subscribe to TV services. That Top-Up TV.
Deezer, this far, has been ticking along - mostly trying for growth outside the US where it's too difficult and/or expensive to do much. Presumably the new money will be an attempt to break that market.
There's something almost a little sweet about Deezer's Wikiepdia entry, particularly this line:
Some artists are not available on Deezer due to licensing restrictions by the record labels: Francis Cabrel and The Beatles are examples.Nothing says 'not really trying in North America' like the lack of Francis Cabrel tracs being a major point of note, does it?
Deezer's fundamental flaw is that it requires you to be logged in to Facebook to use it. It's bad enough that Facebook insists you be logged in to use it, but at least you can see why Facebook might tie themselves so closely to their single log-in. What future would Deezer have when Facebook hits its Decline of Empire point?