The subscription marketplace is looking more and more like a two-horse race.
French subscription service Deezer is launching a free, ad-supported version of its music service in more than 150 countries Thursday (Wednesday in the U.S.) and a host of features that suggest market-leading Spotify has serious competition. Deezer now has 3 million subscribers, 1 million more than it had in Octoberand 2 million fewer than Spotify.
CEO Axel Dauchez tells Billboard.biz the launch of the free service "one of the most important investments in the company" because of its ability to expand Deezer's reach. The company estimates it will have a potential audience of 600 million people who use Facebook, have 3G connection and own a smartphone. Users of the free service will be given a period of unlimited listening -- somewhere between one month and a year, depending on the country -- before being limited to two hours of free listening per month.