Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Legal

Yandex turns off track-sharing tool on its music platform, for now

By | Published on Wednesday 12 July 2017


Russian web giant Yandex has disabled a track sharing function on its music platform, though it says that’s because it’s still developing the service, not because of any copyright infringement claims.

The music industry hopes that Yandex and vKontakte – often respectively dubbed as the Google and Facebook of Russia – can help build a legitimate streaming market in the country. Though, as with the western search and social giants, record companies and music publishers have something of a love/hate relationship with these key business partners. The labels’ various legal battles with vKontakte have been widely documented of course, though we are currently in a period of détente.

The industry has high hopes for the Yandex music service, though some have expressed concern about a new function it added recently where users can upload tracks into the system and share them with friends. While artists could use this service to upload and share their own music via the platform, labels and publishers feared this new tool would result in a load of unlicensed music being shared, with rights owners going unpaid.

However, the sharing element of the upload service was recently disabled. Users can still upload tracks for private use but not share them – meaning Yandex is now offering fans a bit of cloud storage for their MP3 collections, rather than creating a new social network for the distribution of unlicensed music.

But this doesn’t mean that the music industry should assume its concerns have been heard by the web giant. A spokesperson for Yandex has told Billboard that the track upload product is still being developed and that the sharing option will return. Though they added that rights owners should shut up moaning about it, because they’ll still receive royalties Content ID style. Providing they have a licensing deal with Yandex.

Said the Yandex spokesperson of the company’s track upload tool: “The option for sharing uploaded music is working in a test mode. We introduced it for some users at the time of the launch and now we’ve disabled it as we’re planning to improve the interface. The temporary disabling of the option is not linked to rights holders’ complaint, this is one of the stages of working on the product”.