Social network VKontakte (VK) launching a music subscription service

Russian social network site VK (formerly VKontakte) have revealed plans to launch a music subscription service sometime this year.

In a massive shift for the popular European social network VK they have revealed plans to release a music subscription service in the next 6 months. This will see the platform that had been rife with illegally uploaded music by users which had caused contention between VK and labels.

VKontakte’s CEO Boris Dobrodeyev said: “Following extensive negotiations, we have agreed terms with all of the major music rights holders, enabling us to draw a line under this process. This is a historic moment and a new milestone in VKontake’s history. Our constructive and mutually beneficial collaboration has put an end to earlier disputes with the record companies.”

VK have now secured licensing agreements with the three major labels removing legal barriers, which Dobrodeyev says will allow them to “create new products based on VKontakte’s music service that users will value”. At VK Fest this week Russian executives from Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment all spoke on the upcoming service.

Senior Vice President of UMG, Adrian Cheesley said: “Music has tremendous value and we’re gratified to reach a commercial agreement that ensures UMG’s artists are fairly compensated for the use of their music. Russia is an important, and growing, market for UMG and with this important step we’re looking forward to developing more local artists, investing in growing the music scene and broadly licensing services.”

The Moscow Times reported that some of the functions will still be in development until early 2017 when they hope to implement them.┬áThe label executives said at VK Fest that new features and functions would be rolling out by the end of the year and that the service would cost about the “price of a cup of coffee”.

Alexander Blinov of Warner Music Group Russia said: “Users will still be able to listen to audio recordings for free but some paid functions will appear, such as adding audio to your own account. If you love performers, you have to support them. Musicians must earn a living in order to create new songs.”

VK is the largest social network in Europe and is particularly popular in it’s home country of Russia. VK has roughly 143 million users worldwide with more than 88 million registered users in Russia alone.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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