Russian Social Media Service VKontakte Pacts With UMG


MOSCOW, Russia (CelebrityAccess) — Mail.Ru Group, United Music Agency (UMA) and Universal Music Group (UMG) announced that they have reached an agreement to license UMG's audio and video content for use on Mail.ru Group's online platforms VKontakte.

With this agreement with UMG, Mail.Ru Group now has partnership agreements in place with the three leading international music rights holders – UMG, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.

If you aren't familiar with mail.ru, the company is one of the five largest internet companies in the world, offering email, search and e-commerce services, cloud storage and social media and messaging. Its VKontakte social media platform is the largest such network in Europe and boasts more than 350 million users.

VKontakte's music playback function will return to the iOS app and a number of improvements will be made to the desktop version of the website. A separate application will be developed in partnership with UMA for a range of other functions, opening up a potentially huge new market for legally licensed streaming music.

As well, in conjunction with the deal, the companies announced that they have settled all outstanding litigation. VKontakte previously concluded settlements with Sony Music and Warner Music.

Stu Bergen, CEO, International and Global Commercial Services, Warner Music Group, commented: "We see enormous growth potential for our business in Russia and opportunities for further investment in Russian artists when performers and rights holders receive fair compensation. These agreements represent significant progress towards a properly functioning market." – Staff Writers