Russian social network vKontakte has fully launched its legit streaming music service, with all three majors, indie label repping Merlin and various local labels on board. With paid and ad-funded tiers on offer, this is quite a turnaround from being considered a piracy service and sued by the majors in recent years.
As previously reported, the last of the three majors to get on board with vKontakte’s new music service was Universal. It eventually reached a settlement over the past sharing of unlicensed music via the social network and agreed to supply its content last July.
For a monthly subscription fee of 149 rubles (around £2), users get access to all the usual streaming gubbins – unlimited playback on desktop and mobile, playlists, recommendations and all that – through the social network. In order to take tracks offline on their mobile devices, users will need to download a separate app, called Boom.
In a statement, according to Billboard, vKontakte MD Andrei Rogozov “Music is an important part of life for VKontakte users. VKontakte unites people with different music tastes, giving them the opportunity to communicate, create thematic groups and spread their favourite music without limits”.
Despite now falling in line and basically doing things as the music industry wants, last year vKontakte boss Boris Dobrodeyev complained that what was termed as “piracy” on his social network was never such. It was all protected by safe harbours, he said, as all those music files were uploaded by users and taken down if rightsholders complained.
Having persuaded vKontakte to launch and focus on a paid-for subscription streaming service, despite it having pleaded safe harbours in the past, the music industry might be hopeful it can achieve the same with YouTube and Facebook. Good luck with that.[from http://ift.tt/2lvivLP]