Music Streaming Service Deezer Finally Recruits New CEO

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Deezer, the Paris-based music streaming service that competes against the likes of Spotify and Rdio, has finally made good on its promise to recruit a new CEO.

In April this year, the company announced that Axel Dauchez would be stepping down in September, but it’s taken until now to announce his replacement: Dr. Hans-Holger Albrecht, who will take up the role of Deezer’s CEO (and join the Board) as of February 1st 2015.

Albrecht joins Deezer from Millicom, where he was President and CEO of the telecom and media group, which offers digital service in Africa and Latin America. That seems a good fit given Deezer’s largely rest of the world (ROW) strategy.

The service has yet to launch in the U.S. proper, though it has a limited partnership with Sonos and Bose that targets ‘high end’ audio enthusiasts in the U.S., despite hiring a dedicated U.S. CEO almost 11 months ago.

In October it also acquired Stitcher, the San Francisco-based aggregator of podcasts and talk radio programming.

Meanwhile, Deezer will need to continue to work with telcos and media companies around the world to help spread awareness of and acquire subscribers to its wares.

On that note, Albrecht previously held the post of President and CEO of Modern Times Group, one of Europe’s larger media groups with TV, Radio, Publishing, Production and New Media assets and 1,500 employees in over 20 countries, according to the company’s official announcement.

That’s not to say Albrecht won’t face numerous challenges. As my colleague Ingrid Lunden recently noted, the economics of streaming services continues to fox players in the space, and at the moment it seems that the one (still) to beat is Spotify in terms of streaming music popularity and mindshare. But, with that said, Deezer is still definitely in the game. The service claims a user base of 16 million people in more than 180 countries, 6 million of which are paying subscribers.