Russian retailer’s defiance riles British music biz

The British music industry has reacted angrily to a show of defiance from a Russian online music retailer that has been accused of selling singles and albums illegally. has drawn suspicion for several months for offering international chart and back-catalogue material at uncommonly low prices; Beck’s latest album sells for just £1.40 and individual tracks from the release for as little as 8p.

The site broke its silence Tuesday when director general Vadim Mamotin told an online press conference was perfectly legal because it had been granted a license to operate by the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society, to which he claimed to pay 15% of revenue.

But ROMS was expelled last year by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), which represents artists and royalties collecting agencies, for licensing retailers without copyright holders’ permission, and now British industry representatives are calling for action.

“Our view is that are an illegal site,” Sam Shentob of the Association of Independent Musicians, representing hundreds of UK independent labels and musicians, told E-consultancy today.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry issued a statement responding to the retailer’s proclamation.

“ summoned the world’s media to specifically address the issue of their legality – but all they did was duck the questions time and again,” said chairman John Kennedy. “This only confirms the illegal status of this rogue site both within Russia and across the world.” 

Kennedy added: “’s claims to legality are false and spurious. and ROMS clearly have no intention of respecting copyright laws and pay rights owners.”

Matt Phillips of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) told E-consultancy: “We are in the process of bringing a legal case against them.”

The BPI this summer won the right to bring a case against the Russian company in a UK court.