Russian streaming service VK Music has announced that it has over 1.5 million subscribers. Not a big number by streaming stat-brag standards, but the number makes the service by far the country’s biggest paid subscription music service.
A spin-off from social network vKontakte, VK Music currently has 1.2 million paying users, with 300,000 on free trials, according to Billboard. Its biggest rival, Apple Music, only has 600,000 subscribers in Russia, while Spotify is not yet available there.
In a statement, CEO of vKontakte owner Mail.Ru Group, Boris Dobrodeev, says: “The biggest challenge our services face is finding the balance between user interests and copyright standards, and it seems that we have found it. We have created [the] leading legal music service while still keeping all of its features and user-generated content. We continue to work on expanding the music library and developing music services”.
Founder of distributor United Media Agency, which partners with VK on its music service, Oleg Butenko adds: “From the very beginning of our co-operation with western record companies and local copyright holders, there has been a belief in the great potential of the Russian market. Thanks to the joint work with our partners, we have been able to make a big step forward in legalising music in Russia”.
VK Music fully launched in May 2017, and in November last year vKontakte began limiting access to free music on its platforms in a bid to drive up paid subscriptions. Prior to this, the Russian social network had been one of the global music industry’s biggest enemies, due to rampant piracy on its platform.
Legal action from the major labels was eventually settled and deals were done, although the company remains on the US government’s piracy gripe list, due to its lack of similar friend-making with the movie industry.[from https://ift.tt/2lvivLP]