Deezer beefs up its non-music offerings with new content and features


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As ironic as it may seem, non-music content is the latest theater in the raging war for streaming-music domination. Music streamer Deezer has added 20,000 new podcasts and radio shows to its News & Entertainment category, doubling its presence in that area.

The company first turned its attention to the non-music content category in October 2014, when it acquired talk-radio and podcast app Stitcher for an undisclosed sum. The app was said to have 35,000 radio shows and podcasts at the time, all of which have since been absorbed into Deezer, it seems.

According to the company, its selection of spoken-word content spans a wide range of categories, including News & Politics, Sports, Health & Fitness, Comedy, Science, Technology and Popular Culture. “Current talk programming includes NPR, Financial Times, Panoply, WNYC, This American Life, and CBS Radio News. New partners include talkSPORT, Bayerischer Rundfunk, France 24 and Braincast,” the company said in a recent blog post.

This latest tranche of non-music content is accompanied by a few new features: You no longer have to go looking for the latest episodes of your favorite shows every few days, for they now automatically appear in one constantly updated playlist. Further, if you are a paying user, you can even download them for later listening. And for all it’s worth, you can also share your favorites on various social media platforms.

Deezer is not the only streaming-music provider to venture beyond music. Spotify—by far the leading player in the market—has been serving up podcasts to its 75 million users since May, and Google announced similar plans for its Play Music service earlier this week.

The story behind the story: In the world we live in—where a large chunk of the population has trouble ascribing any real monetary value to music—it’s hard to be a pure-play music provider. Access to tens of millions of songs for a low $10 monthly fee or for simply putting up with a few ads may have seemed like a great deal a decade back, but it’s hardly special in 2015. So, the likes of Deezer have no choice but to do everything they can to stand out (even if momentarily).

The IPO that wasn’t

The streaming-music service—which has some 6.3 million subscribers and 16 million active users—had plans to raise €300 million (around $330 million) by the way of an IPO in its native France at the end of this month, but it balked at the last moment citing market conditions. “Deezer is well-funded and well positioned as it continues to pursue its growth strategy,” the company said in a statement announcing the IPO postponement Tuesday, adding it would review its fundraising options. However, that optimism seems a bit misplaced when viewed in light of its far-from-rosy IPO prospectus.

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