Russia's Yandex.Music Streaming Service Doubled Paid Subscribers in a Year

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Yandex.Music, the music streaming service run by the local online giant Yandex, saw the number of its paid subscribers double over the past 12 months to reach nearly 2 million.

The service’s growing popularity reflects a switch in music consumption patterns from downloads to streaming, Arkady Volozh, Yandex' co-owner and general director, was quoted as saying by the Russian business daily Vedomosti.

"Previously, the pattern was: find music tracks online, download them and listen to them," he said. "Now music just comes to you."

Yandex.Music was launched in 2010 and reached 250,000 paid subscribers by late 2016. In June 2018, Yandex.Music reported a paid subscriber figure of 1 million.

The service currently operates in Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus. In October 2018, it took the first step towards expansion beyond the former Soviet Union by launching in Israel.

The Yandex.Music app allows users to stream top charts and curated playlists, play albums and individual tracks and access the Yandex.Radio service, which offers tracks selected for various activities and moods.

In Russia, Yandex.Music is available at 169 rubles ($2.6) per months with a three-month free trial period or at 1,690 rubles ($26) per year.

Meanwhile, Yandex.Music's reported growth comes against the backdrop of an overall boom in the music streaming segment, whose value more than doubled in 2018, year-on-year, reaching 4.7 billion rubles ($72.3 million), according to a recent report by the local consulting firm J'son and Partners Consulting.

The IFPI annual report has slightly different numbers but still shows a significant growth for Russia's streaming segment. According to the report, it saw a jump of 165.6% ($35.7 million) in 2018.

In Russia, according to the IFPI, streaming accounts for 81% of recorded music total revenue, which is among the highest figures in Europe, behind only Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.

The total number of Russian music streaming services' paid subscribers is unknown because major global players, such as Apple Music and Google Play Music, wouldn't reveal their subscriber figures. Spotify doesn't operate in Russia. The Swedish streaming giant planned to launch here in 2015 but canceled its plans amid a slowing economy, unstable national currency and personal-data protection legislation stipulating that Russians' personal data should be stored inside the country.

However, according to J'son and Partners' report, the existing music streaming services are expected to drive up the segment's value at a rate of 58% annually over the next three years. The consulting firm predicted that in 2021, Russia's music streaming services will post revenue of 18.6 billion rubles ($286.1 million) thanks to a range of factors, including the government's crackdown on online piracy and a steady growth in the number of mobile devices, which are mostly used for streaming music.