French music streaming service Deezer’s shares failed to strike the right note with investors at its Tuesday launch on the Paris stock market, plunging in morning trading by over 35 percent.
The steep fall — as low as 5.52 euros ($5.70) before a slight rebound — was a blow for the Spotify competitor, whose 9.6 million subscribers account for around two percent of the global streaming market, according to Midia Research.
That makes it a minnow compared with the Swedish streaming giant, which boasts market share of around 31 percent.
But as one of the few French digital firms to become a household name, Deezer’s flotation event in Paris was attended by Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who told bosses “you have to grow” after chief executive Jeronimo Folgueira rang the opening bell.
“I don’t accept seeing all the American firms coming to Europe without seeing European firms go to the US, to explain to our American friends that European firms are the best,” Le Maire said.
As well as Spotify, Deezer has yet to catch up with other giants in the streaming world, including Apple, Amazon and China’s Tencent.
The firm is doubling down on music, rather than expanding into neighbouring fields like podcasting and audio books as Spotify and Amazon have done.
Deezer hopes deals with mobile network operators like France’s Orange and Brazil’s Tim, as well as broadcaster RTL in Germany, will help it reach more listeners in a global streaming market growing at more than 25 percent per year by users.
“With the right distribution, we know we can win market share and become rivals to the major players,” CEO Folgueira told AFP ahead of the stock market launch.
Compared with 2015, when a first attempt to float the company had to be postponed because of hostile market conditions, “the business has changed, the market has changed: it’s the right moment to take this step,” he added.
“Music streaming is really established, it makes up almost two-thirds of revenue for recorded music, which wasn’t true back then.”
Deezer’s top investor before its arrival on the market was British-American billionaire Len Blavatnik, with 43 percent, while French businesspeople including billionaire Francois Pinault have also bet on the firm.