French startup Deezer, a venture-backed streaming music provider that competes directly with much-discussed Spotify in Europe, today announced a two-tiered premium service model intended to extract revenue from power users. The site claims 16 million visitors and 11 million registered users, some of whom will now be expected to pay €4.99 ($7.42) each month to remove advertising and hear higher-quality streams, or €9.99 monthly to add a desktop app and mobile streaming to phones including iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android devices. Read More about Deezer: Another Startup That Will Face the Music on Premium Streaming
The theory that mobile applications will boost interest in music subscriptions has its first test subject in RealNetworks’ (s RNWK) Rhapsody, which released an iPhone (s appl) app in early September that has since been downloaded more than half a million times. Most of those downloaders were non-subscribers testing out the service, making them potential new customers. But the early evidence shows that Rhapsody’s subscriber base isn’t expanding as a result of the app — in fact, it’s shrinking. Read More about Rhapsody Fails to See iPhone App-induced Bump
Updated to note Imeem: Google (s GOOG) will soon launch a search product dubbed “OneBox” that will better organize results around music artists and provide music streams from Lala.com, MySpace-owned iLike.com and other services — including full-song streams, according to one of my sources who’s seen it firsthand. That would make it a modest innovation in user search experience, but not a game-changer that will upset iTunes or compete in the mobile sphere as some early reports have speculated. So modest, in fact, that it sounds a lot like what Yahoo has been doing since last fall with RealNetworks’ (s RNWK) Rhapsody. Read More about Google to Add Full-Song Streams, Not a Full Music Service
Rhapsody, the music subscription service, says its free iPhone application has been downloaded more than 330,000 times since its launch Sept. 9, making it the No. 2 music app in the iTunes store. But while that’s an enthusiastic display of interest in a fairly moribund music rental model service (especially given that Rhapsody has 746,000 paying subscribers), broadly speaking, most users are still experimenting with mobile streaming rather than buying subscriptions. Read More about For Mobile Music-As-a-Service, How Soon Is Now?