We’re all familiar with music-streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. These streaming titans are tried and tested, but ther are definitely more out there to choose from. And we have to ask ourselves: Is there any music streamer that goes the extra mile for its listeners, especially in terms of audio quality and personalized recommendations? As a matter of fact, there is, and it’s called Deezer.
Deezer has actually been around for more than 15 years, and it’s the kind of streamer that prioritizes premium sound, but at a cost that most of us can wrap our heads around. There’s a lot to know about Deezer, so we’ve created this helpful guide to give you a solid idea of what the platform is all about.
What is Deezer?
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Deezer is a digital music-streaming platform that the company claims is home to more than 90 million songs. Similar to Spotify and Apple Music, Deezer lets you search for music by song, artist, album, and genre, and it even includes an algorithmic monitor called Flow that will start to recommend content to you based on your listening habits (once you’ve favorited 16 tracks or more). The Deezer mobile app is available for iOS and Android, and the desktop app can be downloaded for Windows and macOS. You can also go directly to Deezer’s site to stream tunes.
Similar to competitor platforms, several Deezer features are locked behind a subscription paywall, including a fun tool called SongCatcher that listens for song lyrics and melodies to tell you the name of the track you’re listening to (similar to Shazam). One of the best parts of the Deezer experience is its HiFi library., which boasts FLAC tracks that stream at 16-bit 44kHz. That’s right on par with CD quality
How do I use Deezer?
If you’re interested in taking Deezer for a spin, the only things you’ll need to get started are an internet connection and a smartphone and/or a home computer. You’ll first need to create a Deezer account. We recommend signing up for the free trial of Premium if you’d like to experience all the features and benefits that Deezer offers, although you’ll have the option to sign up for the ad-supported free plan, too.
For those of you listening on a PC, you can access the player directly through Deezer’s site, but there’s also a desktop app you can download for Windows and macOS, along with mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Once you’re signed in on Deezer’s site, the top three artists you choose will be displayed at the top of the page. As you scroll down, you’ll see multiple subcategories (with options including Made For You, New Releases for Youetc.) that are curated based on the artists you like and your listening habits. The left side of the main dashboard has multiple tabs to filter content by, including Music, Podcasts, Concerts, Browseand Favorites. Each screen is well organized and simple to navigate, with things like genre and artist tiles laid out in a very clear fashion.
The iOS app is just as easy and intuitive to use. When you first launch it, you’ll be on the Home Screen, which places your three favorite artists at the top of the page, with a Discover tab located below this area. Here is where Deezer curates additional artists, albums, and tracks based on the favorites you chose and your listening habits. Tap the Explore icon at the bottom of the page to see even more music and podcast curations, as well as Deezer’s many radio stations and platform exclusives (housed under Deezer Originals).
Tap the Favorites icon to take a look at the playlists, artists, and albums you’ve favorited, as well as the music and podcasts you’ve downloaded for offline listening. And last but not least is the Search icon, which lets you search for a specific song, artist, etc. by typing in the search bar at the top of the page, sorting by genre, or using a feature called SongCatcher. This neat little Shazam relative listens for lyrics and melodies to help you determine the name of the song you’re attempting to find.
How much does Deezer cost?
Deezer offers a few different subscription tiers, as well as free ad-supported listening. For U.S. subscribers, Deezer Free is available for mobile and desktop platforms. While the entire library will be at your disposal, your music will occasionally be interrupted by 30-second ads. Mobile listeners will also have to deal with shuffle-only playback and a limit of six song skips per hour, so even if you select a specific song or artist, Deezer will end up selecting music that sounds similar to the track or album you select.
This shuffled format doesn’t carry over to desktop Deezer though. While you’ll still have to deal with ads during songs, you’ll be able to listen to entire albums without the platform pushing you toward other tracks. You should also be able to skip as many songs as you’d like.
Currently, Deezer Premium is $11 per month, but you can try the paid tier for one month on the house. Premium gives you access to Deezer’s entire library, as well as offline downloads, multidevice listening, and HiFi listening.
Deezer Family is $18 per month and comes with all the same benefits as the Premium plan, with the addition of up to six individual listening accounts that can be spread over 13 devices. Then there’s Deezer Student, which is basically the same thing as Premium, but with a 50% monthly discount applied to the plan. And like Premium, both Family and Student subscriptions are free for the first month.
What is Deezer’s streaming quality like?
Deezer’s music library is divvied up into two major file formats: MP3s and FLAC files for hi-res listening. If you’re using Deezer’s free plan, MP3s are capped at 128Kbps. Under every paid Deezer subscription, MP3 files are capped at 320Kbps, with the option to downgrade to 128Kbps if you’d like (this is considered the “Standard” audio quality, with “Better” being the 320Kbps option).
For all the discerning audiophiles of the world, Deezer’s HiFi playback is available on multiple devices, and it uses 16-bit FLAC encoding at 1,411Kbps. As previously mentioned, this is CD quality we’re talking about, which is going to sound pretty good through a pair of decent speakers or headphones.
As far as the competition goes, platforms like Tidal and Qobuz definitely take things up a notch, with both offering 24-bit FLAC encoded content at up to 192kHz (billed as HiFi Plus and Studio Hi-Res, respectively). That being said, a more casual listener who still wants top-notch sound from a digital library should be more than happy with Deezer’s maximum output.
While it may be difficult to tell the difference between free and paid MP3 formats, listeners will definitely get a big boost in soundstage and overall quality when listening to Deezer’s FLAC-encoded music. For a while, Deezer listeners were also able to experience Sony’s 360 Reality Audio through a separate app, but this service is no longer supported.
Which devices support Deezer?
In addition to iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS, Deezer is compatible with several different smart brands. If you’re running your home with Alexa and Google Assistant, you’ll be able to use Deezer to play music through your Echo and Nest speakers and smart displays. Deezer is also built right into the Sonos ecosystem, and is simple to access using the Sonos S2 app. One of the best parts of having Deezer integrated into your smart home is the ability to use voice commands to play songs, which is something you’ll be able to do with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Sonos.
There are also a number of car infotainment systems that have Deezer on board. If your vehicle supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, BMW, or RockScout, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite Deezer songs while cruising down the highway.
If you’re more about the at-home listening experience, you’ll also be able to download the Deezer app for Android TV, Roku, and Xbox.
Is Deezer better than other music-streaming platforms?
In a lot of ways, you can think of Deezer as one of the best middle-of-the-road music-streaming platforms. When it comes to user interface, algorithmic power, and musical variety, there’s plenty to love. And with the service available in 185 countries, Deezer’s archives will only continue to grow. So what happens when you pit Deezer against competitive platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Qobuz?
Spotify tends to grab the most attention of all the music streamers, and for good reason. The company’s paid subscriptions are a little bit cheaper than Deezer (Spotify’s individual Premium tier is $11 per month, with its Family plan at $17), its community features are a little more engaging, and its music library is a little bigger. And while you won’t find HiFi tracks on Spotify right now, this elevated branch of audio should be added to the platform shortly.
Apple Music is another big attention-grabber, with prices right in line with Spotify’s subscriptions, along with a brand-new low-cost plan called Voice that only costs $5 per month (but limits your UI experience to just Siri commands).
Tidal is another big platform, and it touts hi-res music formats and an immense library, along with video content (which is something Deezer and a few other platforms are missing).
As for Qobuz, while its library may not be as immense as that of its competitors, you actually don’t even need a subscription to purchase HiFi music from the service. We also mentioned that Qobuz offers some tracks in full 24-bit FLAC at up to 192kHz, which is pretty much the best sound quality you’re going to get from a digital platform.