The global company, which operates in more than 185 countries and has more than 14 million active viewers, launched in the Middle East last year and has already amassed over four million registrations from music fans.
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This includes, in addition to its Dubai headquarters for the MENA region, as well as offices in Egypt, Beirut and Riyadh. “We will roll these out over time,” said Albrecht.
“MENA is a very attractive market. It’s a very young market. Mobile phone penetration is to grow over 75 percent by 2035. It’s a great opportunity for us,” he added.
Deezer faces strong competition from Apple Music, Spotify, Disney, You Tube, Amazon, Beirut-born streaming platform Anghami and others fighting for top spot in the audio streaming market. According to Albrecht, who joined the company four-and-a-half years ago, penetration levels of music streaming in the US is around 20 percent, the UK about 14-15 percent and MENA is “below 2 percent”.
One key weapon the company has in its armoury, however, is local content. In August last year, Deezer partnered with the Arab world’s largest record label Rotana to offer users a wide selection of Arabic hits and access to local content from music production group Mazzika and Saudi-based telecom provider Qanawat, in addition to 56m tracks from global artists.
In the same month, it had raised $186m in fresh funds from investors including the Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and French telecoms giant Orange.
“In theory we should have them all (local listeners). We have the exclusive Rotana catalogue of artists but we have deals with all other labels as well. So, in theory, we should be 100 percent. We may miss one or two but nothing jumps to my mind,” said Albrecht.
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