Itâs not often that a $ 109 million fundraising round is considered a consolation prize for a budding tech company.
Yet for Deezer, the Paris-based music-streaming service that competes with Spotify and Apple Music, the latest funding announced on Wednesday comes only a few months after it postponed an initial public offering.
The company says the pullback from the I.P.O. was because of the tumult in global markets. But this week, Hans-Holger Albrecht, Deezerâs chief executive, admitted that it would be difficult to compete head on with its big rivals, which have larger financial resources at their disposal.
As a result, the company would use the new fundraising round to redouble its efforts to partner with telecom operators, offering bundled access to Deezer as part of peopleâs monthly cellphone contracts, in addition to signing up subscribers directly. He said the companyâs existing investors â including Access Industries and Orange, the former French telecom monopoly â had again backed Deezerâs plans to bring music streaming to a global audience, particularly in developing countries.
âItâs not easy to keep up with competitors,â he said. âBut this wonât be a winner-takes-it-all market. If you can work with telecom operators, then the economics arenât as tough as the likes of Spotify.â
It remains unclear how many streaming-music services can thrive at once. Deezer has about six million paying subscribers in 180 countries, compared with more than 20 million paying subscribers for Spotify and roughly seven million for Apple Music.
Competition is only expected to heat up in the coming months. Spotify and Apple Music continue to add paying subscribers in both the core American market as well as increasingly around the globe. And Pandora Media, the Internet radio service that last year acquired the assets of Rdio, a highly regarded but struggling online service, also has set its sights on international growth to increase revenue and paying subscribers.
Mr. Albrecht said the influx of money would allow Deezer to continue focusing on Europe and some emerging markets for growth, particularly through its telecom partnerships. He also said that the service may eventually return to the public markets, though not as long as investors remain cautious in the wake of a worldwide economic uncertainty caused by the slowdown in China and the tumbling price of oil.
âWe didnât feel it was the right time for an I.P.O.,â said Mr. Albrecht. âBut we may come back.â