Formerly known as Blogmusik.net, Deezer offers free, on-demand music from record labels, including Universal, Warner and Sony BMG.
Already popular in France, it has recently launched a version of its service in the UK. We have been taking a look…
Unlike some online music services such as Last.fm and Pandora, Deezer allows you to access any track from its catalogue on demand.
This gives you instant access to thousands of tracks from Universal and Warner, as well as a number of independent labels. In France, users can listen to tracks from the SonyBMG catalogue, but these rights don’t extend to the UK at the moment.
Deezer has an impressive number of tracks from a lot of well known artists. Search for The Stones for instance, and you have a choice of 795 songs to listen to.
There are around 2.5m tracks available on Deezer, the majority of which can be listened to on-demand.
Select a song and it will be played through the Deezer Player:
Once you have searched for an artist and selected a track to listen to, you can fast forward, rewind, or skip to the next song. The sound quality is excellent, with none of the buffering you sometimes get when listening to music online.
The artist pages show all the available tracks from that band / singer, so you can listen to them from the list provided, or listen to whole albums at a time. Related music videos are also offered:
The site doesn’t do a great job of recommending other songs or artists you might like; something that Last.fm and Pandora both do well. However, if you just want a particular song or artist, keyword searches on the site work very well.
You can get recommendations on the artist pages, or if you listen to the Smart Radio. You can start a radio with the song you are listening to, then Deezer will play similar tracks, which you can either add to the radio playlist or remove if you don’t like them:
The system will then use this information to learn about your tastes and improve your future recommendations.
This is good, but a little too simplistic. The reason Last.fm does such a good job with its recommendations is that it can ‘scrobble’ tracks you play on iTunes etc and build up a real picture of your tastes over time.
Deezer has also built a community around the service, so you can connect with other users who like the same music, search for others, comment on tracks/artists as well as inviting your friends to join the service.
The ‘blind tests’ are a novel feature; users can create or participate in music quizzes where you have to guess the song / artists from samples that are played to you.
Deezer also allows you to embed the player and your chosen playlists into your blog, as well as you profile on Facebook or Bebo.
It’s difficult to beat Last.fm for the way it links in to your iTunes playlist, learning your tastes and providing excellent recommendations, but Deezer is still an excellent site for finding and listening to music online.
It works best when you have a particular song or artist that you want to find, but the site, having launched just under a year ago, is still developing, so it will be interesting whether it improves over time.
Deezer is pretty easy to use, the community features are good, but best of all is the sheer quantity of on demand music on offer, something that many online music rivals are unable to match.
With the troubles that Pandora and other internet radio services have had with increased royalty rates, it’s good to see that a company can offer such an impressive range of music online and stay on the right side of the artists and record labels.