The piracy-rife country has a new, above-board option for music streamers -- with a pricing twist to boot.
Russian music streaming service Zvooq has raised $20 million in Series A funding, led by Russian e-commerce company Ulmart with participation of Essedel Capital, a Finnish private equity fund. The capital injection is a sign of change in a country known as a haven for piracy.
Zvooq -- Russian for "sound" -- follows a familiar formula of pricing, access and catalog. The service has both free, advertising-based and paid, advertising-free tiers. It's a multi-platform streaming service that can be used on PCs, smartphones and tablets. The service retains a catalog of 15 million songs, representing 500,000 artists and 25,000 labels.
But the service is also different from its peers. Zvooq operates in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and nine other former Soviet republics, all markets with relatively little competition compared to Western markets. Deezer already operates in Russia. Spotify appears to be headed for the country. Zvooq is more like Russian services Trava, created by mobile carrier MegaFon, and Yandex.Music, two services created locally for the particulars of the local market.