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vKontakte limits free streaming to push music subscriptions

By | Published on Monday 6 November 2017


Previously controversial Russian social media firm vKontakte is adding restrictions to free music streaming on its platform – and on a sister social network called Odnoklassniki – as it continues to try and grow a legitimate streaming music service in the country backed by the music industry.

As much previously reported, vKontakte was at one point a top enemy of the music industry, which argued that the social network didn’t do enough to stop the rampant sharing of unlicensed music across its platform.

All three majors were, at one point, suing the social media business. But ultimately settlements were reached as the Russian digital firm, and its parent company, made commitments to launch a licensed royalty-paying music platform in its home country.

That service, including a new app called Boom, was fully launched back in May. And now, to drive more users to the paid-for option, limits are being put on the free music streaming that has been available of late on’s social networks.

A spokesperson for the United Media Agency, which handles music licensing for the Group, told Billboard: “Free streaming in the background mode on VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and Boom will now be limited to 30 minutes a day. Users can remove the restrictions and get access to additional features by launching a paid subscription”.

The paid-for option costs 149 rubles, which is just under £2. The music industry favours paid-for streaming rather than ad-funded free streaming, of course, because it generally generates much better royalties. It therefore backs any measures that might persuade more free users to sign up for paid-for options.