The giant Russian social network VKontakte (VK) are taking on Spotify and Apple Music with the launch of their new music streaming service.
After almost a year since they revealed their upcoming music streaming service, as well as surpassing their “by the end of 2016” schedule, VK’s music service is finally here. With 100 million active users on their social network VK has giant Spotify sized audience to offer music streaming to, given them a massive headstart.
VK’s in-app streaming service will offer two options; a free, ad-supported service and a paid tier for 149 rubles (roughly $2.60). They secured license agreements with the 3 major labels last year so that they can offer most of the world’s most popular music.
VK have allowed users to upload and share music for years now but with no real licensing it essentially amounted to social music piracy. When the industry began to kick off VK knew they had to fix the issue, and that’s how we have their new music service.
VKontakte’s managing director, Andrei Rogozov said: “Music is an important part of life for VKontakte users. VKontakte united people with different music tastes, giving them the opportunity to communicate, create thematic groups and spread their favourite music without limits.”
Both the paid and free versions of VK’s streaming service work in very much the same way as both tiers do on Spotify. The paid version of the service allows users to listen to unlimited music and save tracks to listen to them offline.
The service will set itself apart from competitor streaming services with it’s social functions, due to being a social network. Users can create playlists and share them, they can follow friends’ music collections as well as celebrities and VK music editors. They have also built a “smart recommendation system” for music discovery.
VK say that on top of music from Sony, Universal and Warner they will distribute exclusive albums and tracks from up-and-coming artists to help them reach new and further audiences.