Despite the failure of a few companies in recent years, the streaming music industry remains fiercely competitive. Along with tech heavyweights like Amazon, Apple, and Google, music-focused firms like LiveXLive and Spotify are vying for your attention. To stand out in the face of such competition, a streaming music service must offer distinctive features. Enter Deezer, a French startup that entered the US market in 2016. Deezer isn’t groundbreaking, but its combination of standard streaming music, live radio, podcasts, and exclusive video makes it a worthwhile choice.
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Platforms and Strategies
Deezer is available on almost all platforms. It’s available as a macOS or Windows desktop program, as a web browser extension, or as an Xbox, Roku, smart speaker, smart TV, or wristwatch app. Deezer is also compatible with Android Auto and other automotive technology. You can use your Google or Facebook account to join up, or you can create a new Deezer account.
Deezer’s cost is comparable to those of other streaming providers. Deezer Free is a mobile-only ad-supported subscription service. If you listen to Deezer Free on your phone or mobile device, for example, you’ll find a wide range of playlists to choose from, with most music featuring lyrics. You’ll only hear 30-second song excerpts whether you listen to Deezer Free on your browser or through the PC app. You can upgrade to a premium membership to remove the 30 second limit, but Deezer is mostly worthless for computer-based listening if you stay to the free music tier. This is a major disappointment.
Deezer Free provides six skips per hour on all platforms except browsers and the PC client, no offline option, and 128kbps compressed MP3 streams. These are serviceable options, similar to what you’d get with a free Spotify subscription, but nothing to write home about. Deezer, on the other hand, has increased its music library to 90 million tunes, up from 70 million previously.
The ad-free Deezer Premium, which costs $9.99 per month with an annual subscription of $89.21, is the next rung up the ladder (you save 25 percent). Unlimited listening on all platforms, unlimited song skips, complete lyrics, and offline listening are all available with Premium. Deezer, like Apple Music, Spotify, and a few other music services, offers a $14.99 per month family plan that grants access to Deezer Premium to six individuals. For college students aged 18 to 25, a $4.99 student plan is offered. Deezer Premium provides 320kbps compressed MP3 streams for audio quality.
Deezer also has you covered if you want to listen to High Fidelity music. The $14.99 HiFi plan now includes 90 million tracks in 16-bit/44.1kHz, lossless FLAC format, allowing users to listen to Deezer’s full music library in CD-quality sound. 360 Reality Audio is supported by several HiFi recordings, which is a lovely touch. However, Deezer only offers CD-quality music, so if you want cutting-edge, Hi-Res Audio recordings, you’ll have to search elsewhere. Hi-Res audio levels are available on Amazon Music Unlimited, Qobuz, and Tidal.
Deezer for Mobile
Deezer’s mobile apps (for Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone, and other platforms) stream audio at a low bitrate of 128Kbps via Wi-Fi and data connections by default. If you subscribe to Premium, you can increase the sound quality to 320kbps, however we recommend doing so while connected to Wi-Fi because that bitrate could eat up your data allotment (especially if you sign up for the HiFi plan).
The Android app includes a cool notification system that alerts you to key music happenings, which we spent some time listening to. The notifications area of Deezer for Android had messages about the Santana (Legacy Edition) record and my subscription information when we signed in.
With a few exceptions, Deezer allows you to upload and stream your own MP3 files. You can only upload from the web and desktop versions; mobile devices are not supported. Additionally, you are unable to upload your own FLAC files. However, any MP3s under 200 MB are allowed, and they are all saved in their own playlist for you to listen to whenever you like.
If you’ve tried LiveXLive or Spotify, two Editors’ Choice winners, you’ll be familiar with Deezer’s features. You’ll be presented with a panel-based interface that allows you to search for music by genre (Rock, Soul & Funk, Pop, and so on) or playlist (Acoustic Soul, Blues Women, Rock Workout, and the like). Both categories are filled with tracks from the genres you choose when you created your account.
Deezer also has a large selection and recommendation categories, which are all worth checking out. Deezer dedicates a segment of these to international charts, with top 100 tracks from Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Fresh Picks of the Week features extensive playlists of the most popular current music, organized by playlist categories such as New Dance, Fresh Rap, and Radar Weekly. Deezer’s podcast library is equally outstanding, with hundreds of original and collaborative podcasts covering a wide range of topics, including true crime, politics, humor, and lifestyle.
Deezer Sessions, which are EPs recorded in front of a live audience, have the best unique content. George Ezra and Dua Lipa are two artists who have taken part in Deezer Sessions. Deezer Sessions is similar to MTV Unplugged in that you may listen to the music or view the performances in video format. Sessions are available in Deezer Originals, which also includes exclusive podcasts and varied, handpicked playlists. This may not be able to compete with LiveXLive‘s extensive video feeds, Stories, and educational Artist DNA programs, but it is a step in the right direction, providing you with something more than basic music streaming.
Deezer, like iHeartRadio, provides a large number of live radio stations—hundreds from all over the world. Jazz, news, pop, and decade-specific melodies from throughout the world are among them. You can’t skip tracks because it’s live radio, and you’ll hear commercials regardless of your membership because they’re played by the station, not Deezer. Still, we wish Deezer had the ability to rewind live radio, like SiriusXM Internet Radio, an Editors’ Choice for live, streaming music services, does.
Tune My Music is a new feature that functions as a library importer, allowing you to transfer music and playlists from other services to Deezer. This is a convenient tool that makes switching from another streaming music provider to Deezer a breeze.
The Listening Gathering
Since our last review, Deezer’s Hear This section, which promoted new and old albums according to your preferences, has been gone. Deezer’s existing recommendation system, Flow, is adequate, but it does not satisfy the same need. Flow creates a unique soundtrack based on your favorite/banned songs, albums, and playlists. It includes both your own favorites and music that Deezer’s technology has determined to be a good match. Many disco, funk, alt rock, classic rock, and 1980s-era music were included in our Flow streams, which was precisely what we wanted. Flow is good, but it doesn’t feel all that different from Spotify or even YouTube Music in terms of functionality. Instead of suggested tracks or playlists, it was wonderful to use the old Hear This option to identify and listen to related albums.
We listened to the tracks and associated tunes using headphones while listening to Beck’s Modern Guilt on both the desktop and mobile platforms. The default curated streams, like Deezer’s live radio feeds, seemed a little tinny. Deezer HiFi, of course, offers far superior audio quality than the standard streaming; its sound is comparable to Tidal HiFi. There’s more sonic richness with Deezer HiFi, especially if you listen with good headphones. Ultraglide In Black by The Dirtbombs sounded very fresh and vibrant. The additional audio data makes a significant effect.
Worth Your Attention
Deezer is a terrific location to listen to music, listen to live radio, and listen to podcasts. The service falls short in a few areas, including a lack of amusing or educational additions, and the free browser version is effectively a glorified taster that is nearly useless for at-work listening. Despite this, the excellent variety of international music, MP3 compatibility, lyrics, and other features make it a useful service.
Take a look at our Editors’ Choice options if you want a streaming music service with a little more oomph. Check out Sirius XM Internet Radio for an extensive list of live radio broadcasts. Tidal is the place to go for high-resolution audio. Spotify is also a well-rounded service with a large podcast library, collaborative playlists, and the option to listen to albums before they’re published.
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