Deezer for Android has been updated to reflect the design changes made to its iOS app, and the shared emphasis on music discovery, that arrived last week.
The France-based streaming service, which charges $9.99/month for a la carte listening and offline caching of an unlimited amount of high-quality music, has been trying to reinvent itself in recent months. Its API has been utilized in a number of innovative ways through its App Studio portal, and the company is differentiating itself by partnering with carriers to offer its Premium+ service tier as a value-add to subscribers. As of today, Deezer has 25 partnerships with international telcos, though none of them are in North America.
The new Android app looks nearly identical to its iOS counterpart, with a left-side navigation bar and access to Hear This, a feed of music recommendations based on previously-heard tracks and friends’ favourites. Unlike Rdio’s Heavy Rotation mix, Hear This emphasizes the visual aspect of music browsing, too, with big, beautiful cover photos to depict the drama of sound. It may seem counterintuitive, but it works.
Similarly, Deezer’s Explore tab breaks down recommended and popular music based on genre, which is helpful if you’re not looking to wade through the millions of potential song options out there.
Not only does Deezer allow for offline caching of tracks that you specify, but it caches tracks you often listen to but haven’t explicitly saved for later so that they load quicker, or can be heard in transit without a network connection.
The streaming service is still trying to catch its footing in North America — it is not yet available in the U.S. — and Canadians have a wealth of options these days, from Rdio to Xbox Music to Songza, Nokia MixRadio and Grooveshark. Next year, iTunes Radio is poised to launch in Canada, and Google’s Play Music has been long rumoured to cross the border, too.
For now, though, Rdio and Deezer seem to provide the best value for money, and until Spotify comes and uproots the whole ecosystem, the battle will continue.