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SBD Global/November 17, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Hangin' With ... Deezer VP/North America Jorge Rincon



Jorge Rincon (right) with Miami Dolphins SVP & CCO Todd Kline.
JORGE RINCON is VP/North America of music streaming service Deezer, whose sports partnerships include ManU, Barcelona, Brasileiro side Flamenco and the NFL Miami Dolphins. Deezer, which was founded roughly 10 years ago and is headquartered in Paris, is present in 185 countries. Athletes from the brand's partners compile playlists to share with their fans, in addition to the clubs providing special matchday playlists. As an extension of the playlists, Deezer incorporates its "Flow" feature, a personal soundtrack including favorite tracks as well as recommendations. Rincon spoke with SBD Global about Deezer's business model, int'l sports affiliations and key components of their partnerships.

On why Deezer got involved with sports ...
Jorge Rincon: Deezer identified areas where we could tap into where our competitor might not necessarily be as active. It's no secret that Apple Music and Spotify have been very aggressive in the way that they acquire subscribers, and that's a reflection of their financial situation. We are very well-founded but we take a more conservative approach. In that, we always look for ways to multiply or grow faster and less expensive in terms of acquiring customers. So one area that we identified globally was getting closer to sports franchises. We bet on the passion point, or the intersection of passion between a sports fan and music. We started that by doing the Manchester United deal -- where it's a global deal and we're the exclusive music streaming partner of Manchester United -- and we've started to create a series of activities that were related to how we branded ourselves and how we tap into that subscriber base.

On expanding its sports partnerships to the U.S. ...
Rincon: For North America, we wanted to get closer to the NFL ... and Dolphins was the right choice for us. Location did truly matter, but also the fact that the Miami Dolphins are a very iconic brand that brings a lot of tradition. Also, they've developed their Deezer platforms and assets in a very unique way and we were quite impressed. Sports teams are not only about running sports. Now you also run a digital aspect of your business and they have certainly made tremendous inroads into that and that is important for us.

On the development of the Miami Dolphins' partnership ...
Rincon: Some of the areas we've identified that we want to work together are around digital activations. So when you visit, you'll be able to see Deezer within the website where you can find official playlists of the Miami Dolphins, you can go to the players and see some of the music they select -- what they use for training, for instance

On the partnerships' key components ...
Rincon: Content is one of the pillars of any of our sports partnerships. The other one is digital integrations. We want those apps and websites of the sports teams to have a Deezer presence, where fans are only a click or two away from listening to the official playlist of the teams, or Flow or whatever you like along those lines. And last but not least -- it should be first -- is an iconic brand.

On differences among the partnerships ...
Rincon: There are many similarities but at the same token, we adapt to the region to get the most out of it. The Miami Dolphins are our fourth iconic franchise partnership, and there are a few lessons learned from previous deals. ... When you zoom in, there will be differences on areas where we need to focus or highlight the sport and the region and the team itself. ... One of the differences is that the Dolphins operate in Hard Rock Stadium and that's a venue for a significant number of high-level concerts, so there's an affinity to music, particularly with the Miami Dolphins as opposed to ManU.

On examples of the partners' global reach ...
Rincon: Manchester United and Barcelona came to the United States through the ICC [Int'l Champions Cup] during the summer and we did activations, we did a sweepstakes, we promoted Deezer subscribers to go to the games, we had in-stadium advertising, we promoted the playlists, and so on. [Last] weekend, Manchester United [did] an event in New York with a VIP watch party and all music provided for that party is provided by Deezer.

On Deezer's growth ...
Rincon: Partnerships have been at the core of Deezer's growth. ... Deezer has been on a steady, continuous growth year-on-year, given that the music streaming industry is growing double digits year-on-year. And the newest addition into that set of partnerships has been sports.

Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.
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