Deezer Takes Its High Definition Music Service Global Following Initial U.S. Launch

Music streaming service Deezer has opened its HD-quality offering up to all, following an initial launch in the U.S. which included a period of exclusivity with Sonos.

‘Deezer Elite’, as the service is called, costs $14.99 per month, as opposed to the company’s regular subscription which is $9.99 per month, or £14.99 per month in the UK. Elite is discounted to £9.99 per for one/two year packages, while existing Deezer Premium users can upgrade for $40, or for free if they are also Sonos customers. For those prices, they gain access to Deezer’s 35 million track library as FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files at standard of 1,411 kbps or higher.

That, the France-headquartered firm, said is five time higher than regular services. Deezer Elite users can also stream music to connected devices, although that’s become a standard feature for most paid-for subscriptions.

Deezer is by no means the first to venture into higher quality audio services. Pono, which is fronted by musician Neil Young, is one proponent of that approach, while Sweden’s Aspiro — a company that was recently bought by rapper Jay-Z — offers similar high-def options in the form of its WiMP and Tidal services.

It isn’t clear what Jay-Z’s plans for the company are —  you’d expect he is motivated by the success of Dr. Dre’s Beats venture, acquired by Apple for $3 billion last year — but recent figures put Aspiro’s userbase at 503,000, less than 50,000 of whom are on its premium service. It is early days, but it’s fair to say that no single company has shown traction with a HD offering — indeed, neither Spotify nor Rdio even offer one at this point, although the latter did recently upgrade its playback quality.

Deezer maintains a lower profile than the likes of Spotify or Rdio, but it nonetheless claims 16 million monthly users. Of that number, it says 6 million are paying customers.