Deezer’s high-def audio service comes to Sonos speakers worldwide

Deezer’s high-definition music streaming tier is expanding beyond the U.S.: Sonos owners around the world can soon stream their music as high-definition FLAC files with bit rates of 1,411 kbps or higher by subscribing to Deezer Elite, as the new tier is being called. This comes after Deezer launched Deezer Elite to U.S.-based Sonos owners last September.

Deezer is rolling out the new tier in two phases: Existing Deezer subscribers can upgrade to Deezer Elite right away for no additional cost. New users that already have a Sonos device will be able to sign up by March 19th, but the company hasn’t announced yet how much it will charge customers at that point. Deezer is charging users in the U.S. $14.99 for high-definition streaming with month-to-month billing.

Deezer USA CEO Tyler Goldman told me during an interview last week that Deezer Elite is part of the company’s mission to build specialized tiers that cater to certain audiences, rather than offering everyone the same music service. “We are going to super-serve the needs of audiophiles” with Deezer Elite, he said, adding that the company has gotten a lot of positive feedback from U.S.-based Elite subscribers.

The most striking data point may be the engagement that Deezer is seeing with Elite: Goldman told me that the typical Deezer subscriber streams for close to two hours per day. With Deezer Elite, the amount of listening almost doubles, he said.

Deezer is just one of a number of companies trying to cash in on high-definition audio. In December, HD music streaming service Tidal launched on Sonos as well, and Neil Young’s Pono recently started to sell its HD music player on the web and in select stores. Pono’s model is a bit different in that it is based on digital album sales as opposed to a all-you-can-eat streaming service like Deezer, but Young told me during an interview at CES that it would be possible for Pono to team up with a streaming service down the road as well.