Russian social network vKontakte is thought to be in talks to launch a licensed streaming music service. Billboard noted the reports in Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, albeit based on a single music industry source. It added that vKontakte has just removed the ability to stream user-uploaded music tracks from its iOS apps
– possibly a gesture of goodwill as part of the negotiations. Russia could do with some good news on the streaming front, with Spotify having recently abandoned plans to launch there due to the political climate. vKontakte has a huge audience in Russia – 70m daily active users – but replacing its culture of free, unlimited music downloads with a pure subscription service could be a challenge. Any such service will go up against rivals like Yandex.Music and Zvooq.