BMG Launches Moscow Affiliate, Vows Anti-Piracy Campaign

Five years after opening a research office in Moscow, BMG Entertainment has launched an affiliate called BMG Russia OOO, which will work from the capital. The intent is to develop the Russian market for BMG products, discover and sign new musical talent—and combat piracy.

Russia is the world's second-largest market for pirated software, according to the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. Most of the computer software used in the vast country is pirated, as is the bulk of prerecorded audio and video entertainment. Much of the piracy is attributable to Russia's ongoing economic problems. (Correspondent Leonid Korostyshevski presented an in-depth view of the situation from the perspective of the Russian music lover here last year.)

BMG's affiliate will work with representatives of the IFPI and the Russian National Association of Producers of Audio (NAPA) to combat piracy, according to Thomas M. Stein, president of BMG Entertainment for Central and Eastern Europe. The affiliate office was originally intended to open in 1998, but was delayed by the Russian economic crisis.

Economic stability is a major concern of recently elected president Vladimir Putin, who has promised that it will receive enormous attention in the months and years to come. Putin's efforts are seen as a healthy development by businesses moving into Russia. "We feel that now is the right moment to further expand our presence in the Russian market, and in particular to start building up our own catalog of local artists," Stein said. BMG Russia OOO will be run by Denis Komarovsky, who has been head of BMG's Moscow office since 1995.