Russian social network vKontakte has been a controversial entity for the music industry thanks to songs being shared on its platform. Its launch of a licensed (by Sony Music and Warner Music) streaming app in May was a big step forward, then the reignition of its copyright dispute with Universal Music a fortnight later a significant step back.
Now the two companies may be reaching an agreement: Russian financial newspaper Vedomosti claims that a licensing deal could be in place within days: a three-year contract including an $8m minimum guarantee for Universal. Neither is commenting officially, even after Billboard picked the story up in the west. Securing UMG would certainly be a boost for vKontakte in a market – Russia – where labels are keen to finally create a thriving legal market for digital music. As ever, establishing the truth of the report will depend on which side was briefing Vedomosti amid the ongoing negotiations.