Global music streaming platform Deezer said Thursday it had raised 160 million euros ($186 million) in fresh funds from investors, including the Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), and French telecom giant Orange.
The cash injection takes Deezer's valuation past the one billion euro mark, announced the streaming service. Deezer, founded in 2007, claims a user base of 14 million active users and a catalogue of 53 million music tracks available in 180 countries.
"Big news! We are raising €160 million from new and existing shareholders," the company announced in a tweet.
The funds will be used to finance the acceleration of its development, it said, and strengthen its presence in its key markets such as France and Latin America, CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said in a statement.
Deezer also said it had signed an exclusive agreement with Rotana, the Arabic music label owned by KHC which has a strong presence in the Near and Middle East with a view to distributing music and video content in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Rotana is the world’s premier provider of award-winning Arabic music,” said Rotana Audio CEO Salem Al Hindi in a statement. “We are now expanding our reach and distribution by partnering with Deezer, a leading global digital music streaming service, to deliver our high-quality music content to an ever-growing global listenership in the Middle East, North Africa and other regions around the world.”
“The investment of Kingdom Holding and Rotana Group in Deezer represents one of the many premium investments that we have always sought for our shareholders and the signing of this distribution agreement will move Rotana to the international arena,” Prince Alwaleed said.
That makes the platform the world's third-biggest music streaming service behind leaders Spotify and Apple Music. But more competition is underway, including from Google's video platform YouTube which has launched a premium music streaming service, from Amazon via its Prime offering, and even from car maker Tesla which wants to enter the streaming market which experts say is now the engine of the entire music industry.
International music sales rose robustly for the second straight year in 2017 to show growth not seen in two decades thanks to the rapid adoption of streaming, industry body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reported in April.