Apple plans to launch its streaming service in Russia and is in negotiations with labels, according to a local media report. However, the sluggish economy and competition might become obstacles for a successful launch.
The business daily Vedomosti quoted sources at several leading Russian record labels as saying that Russia is going to be among the first countries where Apple will launch its music service, and negotiations with local labels about expanding digital rights to streaming are in progress.
Apple's Russian office didn't respond to a request for comment.
Music streaming has been gaining popularity in Russia lately, and the segment grew by 214 percent in 2014 to $5.97 million, according to IFPI.
However, the timing for launching a new streaming service here may not be perfect.
The Sweden-based service Spotify spent a while preparing for a Russian launch, tentatively scheduled for this year, but this January, the company canceled its plans, citing the slowing economy, the falling ruble and a new personal data protection legislation as reasons.
Still, even without Spotify, the streaming segment in Russia already is quite packed, with international players like Google Play Music and Australia-based Guvera competing with locals Yandex Music and Zvooq.
Meanwhile, another prospective challenge for Apple in Russia -- not just in the streaming segment -- is the Russian government's plan to develop a new, Russian-built mobile operating system, which would compete with Apple's iOs and Google's Android, the Russian newspaper RBK reported.