August 19, 2014 09:00 ET

Zvooq Closes $20M Series A Led By Ulmart To Bring Legal Music Streaming To The Masses in Russia and Destroy Music Piracy

Funds to be used to create freemium music service to social networks, mobile network operators, device manufacturers, online retailers and consumers

MOSCOW, RUSSIA--(Marketwired - Aug. 19, 2014) - Zvooq (http://www.zvooq.com), the leading Russian music streaming platform, today announced the close of last tranche of their $20m Series A round led by Ulmart, the leading e-retailer in the country. Essedel Capital, a private equity fund in Helsinki, also participated in the round.

The funds will be used to bolster and promote Zvooq's leading freemium music streaming model that allows companies to integrate a free, legal streaming solution into their products. The platform converts illegal consumption of music into legal consumption by making it easy for any service to offer any kind of consumer music where they want it. Zvooq's platform integrates directly into social networks, phones (and directly into cellular carriers' offerings) to offer a truly mass market solution - high quality music that's easily available to any potential listener.

'Zvooq's mission is to bring a quality music listening experience to anyone with a mobile or internet connection across emerging markets" said Victor Frumkin, Co-Founder of Zvooq. "Integrating Zvooq is a way to monetize music for the masses and give consumers legal music where they want it. This is the first real alternative to piracy in these markets".

Zvooq's catalog has over 15 million songs, supporting 500,000 artists and 25,000 labels. The company's music platform provides a range of options that cover the full range of listeners needs from free ad-supported streaming, a la carte download and ad-free subscription.

According to figures released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), global music streaming revenues from services like Zvooq accounted for 56% of the Russian music market's growth in 2013.

Zvooq has been developed to address the whole potential music market versus a small sub-section of listeners to which most streaming music services cater. By creating great freemium consumer products that can easily integrate into other online services and platforms, Zvooq can find the largest possible audience of listeners and drive strong monetisation.

"We are bringing order to the chaos of the Russian music market," said Frumkin. "By delivering the best end-user listening experience and an easy-to-integrate service for our partners we create an enjoyable, legal music market that brings revenue and awareness to artists."

Zvooq will also be using the funds to initiate roll-out of their service into certain developing world territories.

Music piracy in Russia remains a major issue, with popular social networks being an easy place to illegally download music. Zvooq's platform was built specifically to integrate seamlessly into any system using an ad-supported model and large set of social functions within Zvooq as smooth plug-in. The result is that users can continue to listen where they currently spend their time, but will have be listening to licensed music supported by in-stream audio advertising and with the benefit of all the great functionality that Zvooq provides.

"The power of Zvooq is that, once a user starts using the service, they discover a far richer experience than through unlicensed alternatives. Everybody wins," said Frumkin.

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