Deezer set to challenge Spotify in US after swooping for Muve

Spotify‘s main audio streaming rival, Paris-based Deezer, has acquired the assets of US music service Muve Music for what’s reported to be just shy of a $100m pricetag.

Why would Deezer stump up a tenth of a billion dollars for Muve? The service’s two million paying subscribers in the US.

Unfortunately for the French company, it’s not quite as easy as simply adding Muve’s customers to its own.

Deezer hasn’t technically acquired Muve’s subscriber base from owner Cricket Wireless. Muve users paid $45 per month for a Cricket mobile tariff that included talk minutes, text and web data as well as streaming music.

These Muve customers are now being offered between two and four months of free music via Cricket’s new GSM tariff plus Deezer – a combined offer otherwise known as ‘Deezer From Cricket’.

For Muve subscribers, this effectively amounts to a free 45-day ‘make your mind up’ free trial of the Deezer music service.

After this, willing customers will pay around $35 a month for Cricket mobile operations, plus $6 a month for Deezer – a cheaper combined tariff than Muve, at $41pm overall.

Muve will be discontinued by Cricket on February 7. Those who have switched and sign up for the extended free trial with Deezer and Cricket will be able to transfer their existing music libraries and playlists to the Deezer app.

Cricket Wireless and its parent Leap Wireless brand were acquired by US giant AT&T in March 2014.

Spotify is believed to have somewhere between 3m and 4m paying subscribers in the US.  If – and it looks like a big if – Deezer can bring over the majority of Muve’s customers to its new joint service with Cricket, it will immediately places itself in the big leagues of US streaming alongside the Swedish company, Rdio and Google Play.

“Cricket has done an incredible job building Muve into one of the largest music services in the U.S.,” said Tyler Goldman, North American Chief Executive Officer of Deezer. “Deezer’s 16 million listeners around the world share the same passion for music. We’re thrilled to serve the music needs of Cricket’s vibrant audience.”

All new and existing Cricket customers on the new LTE network are also eligible for a minimum 15-day free trial of Deezer. After the free trial period, Cricket customers will be automatically billed only $6/per month for Deezer from Cricket unless canceled – that’s $4 less than other premium services.

“Customers are demanding more compelling services from both their music and wireless providers,” said Jennifer Van Buskirk, President of Cricket Wireless. “This agreement illustrates our ongoing commitment to deliver the best value in prepaid wireless and satisfy our customers’ growing need for an unparalleled premium music experience.”Music Business Worldwide

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