Legal music for Russian Facebook
Music and the internet. Oh, what a stormy relationship they have. One minute they’re as madly in love as the latest sugary pop hit that’s sweeping the youth playlists. Then suddenly there’s more hatred in the air than at an apocalyptic death metal concert.
The makeups and breakups usually revolve around pirates. Yes pirates. Not the buccaneers of yesteryear but those who distribute copyrighted material for free. Russians have had many fewer chances to play music online than their counterparts in Europe and America because of fears over piracy.
‘Yandex.music’ was launched in September 2010 and gave users the chance to see which songs from its library others were playing. They could then play the songs themselves with the click of a button. Facebook also has its equivalent of this service but it didn’t offer it to Russian users, such is their fear copyright would be violated here in Russia. Facebook currently has 9.3 million users in Russia. Now it seems they see Yandex.Music, with 3.6 million users as a way into Russian music sharing, with both gaining more users as a result.
But it’s not quite as simple as that. Whilst many Russians have Facebook, far more popular is the Russian social networking site Vkontakte (which means ‘in contact’). It started sharing free music and video amongst all of its users a long time ago.
Internet analyst Ilya Rachenkov from Investcafe says ‘Yandex.music’ won’t do much to help Yandex. As he points out, “Russia’s audience is still predisposed to using illegally obtained content which gives us the reason to believe the Yandex music service is not going to gain much more popularity.” Many point to the fact users all over the world don’t want to pay for expensive downloads to record companies. Yandex music has far bigger competitors which offer much more content, Vkontakte being a prime example. Although, as Mr Rachenkov says, “this has been the reason for the significant amount of criticism it (Vkontakte) receives,” because of the potential for copyright infringement, it’s also the reason for its success. Most young people, whether listening to that sugary pop hit or that death metal don’t care where it comes from. They want it free and they want it now.