The company is describing it as “A set of tools to help labels and artists redefine the relationship between music and fans worldwide”, with several ingredients.
They include: certified accounts for artists; Deezer Pages that will pull in social networking feeds from individual artists, which their fans can subscribe to within Deezer; Deezer Uploader, which will enable artists to upload their own audio files (“demos, interviews, live concerts…”); and a set of analytics tools for labels and artists to dig out data on who’s listening to their music, and where they are in the world.
The initiative is Deezer’s attempt to convince more artists that streaming is beneficial to their careers, rather than cannibalising their traditional sales.
Deezer hasn’t really been sucked into the ‘how low are streaming payouts to artists?’ row in recent months – Spotify and Pandora have been the main whipping boys for that – so D4A could be seen as a canny attempt to pitch Deezer as a more artist-friendly service.
That said, Music Ally met CEO Axel Dauchez recently, and he talked engagingly and convincingly about the need for all streaming services to fix their disconnection from the artist-fan relationship, and provide more value to artists trying to pilot their way through the current digital music ecosystem.
The devil will be in the detail here, and Deezer certainly isn’t alone in trying to do this sort of thing. Witness Rdio’s Artist Program, which was launched in October as a way for artists to make money by referring fans to that streaming music service as potential subscribers. Or the new Myspace, which is promising similarly-detailed fan analytics for artists when it relaunches next year.
Or look at Spotify, which is signing up an increasing number of artists to launch apps on its platform – Blur, David Guetta and One Direction being recent examples – while exploring the potential to break new acts on its service (the recent Cazzette launch).
Later this week, Spotify is also expected to announce new features where artists will play a more prominent role as curators on its service, compiling playlists for fans to subscribe to. That’s why we’ve used the word ‘perceived’ in the headline: Spotify has taken lots of flak for artist earnings, but it’s also been working hard in this area.
All these services are trying to solve the same problem. When they launched, the best selling point for music fans was to pitch these services as great big, unlimited jukeboxes stuffed with millions of songs.
The downside of that, though, is that a lot of artists and managers think of streaming services purely in those terms too: jukeboxes to be judged purely on how much money they pay out. What Deezer for Artists, Rdio’s Artist Program and much of Spotify’s current developments are trying to do is move that perception on to a point where artists see streaming as a way to connect with fans more strongly.