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Label News (more headlines) 02-03-2009

Russian Mobile Ringback Tone Deal For Aardvark Records

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Website: http://www.aardvarkrecords.co.uk

Independent record label Aardvark Records has signed a deal with Russian mobile content and service provider United Fun Traders (UFT) to supply music for the burgeoning Russian audio Ringback tone market.

UFT, which supplies one of the biggest Russian mobile operators with music content, has licensed over 700 songs from the label's catalogue. The partnership combines Aardvark's expertise in building successful relationships with mobile entertainment content providers with UFT's strength in the Russian mobile telecommunications technology market.

Best known for the chart topping dance and electronica acts from its sub-label Aardvark Dance, the Cornwall-based label’s pop, folk, rock and soul acts are also included in the deal. The partnership with UFT features songs from dance acts Yahel, Zetan Spore and the gold-selling EricM. Rock act Little Spitfire, singer-songwriter Everett Young and folk acts such as Steve O’ Connor, Satya Graha and Moondragon were also names that excited the Russian mobile content provider.

Aardvark Records director, Alex di Savoia, said: "This marks the first time our music will be legally available to buy in Russia. The security of UFT’s delivery platform and its knowledge and relationships within the Russian mobile content market make them the ideal company for us to partner with."

In recent years personalized ringback tones have become globally popular. Callers hear audio playback that has been selected by the party being called. The audio can be music, voice messages and greetings or sound effects. Users have a subscriber account that allows their audio selection to be modified through the Internet, WAP, SMS, USSD or Voice User Interfaces.

di Savoia is enthusiastic about entering the Russian music marketplace: "The Eastern European footprint on our website accounts for around 28% of the 3,000 unique daily visitors we receive online. 17% of that Eastern European traffic is from Russia, and it’s very 'sticky' web traffic. Until now we couldn’t supply our releases to the Russian market in Rubles. This made our artists' releases expensive for the average Russian consumer to purchase. This deal will see our releases competitively priced alongside domestically produced Russian artists."

Andrey Kupriahin, UFT Business Development Director, added: "We are excited to be doing business with Aardvark Records. The Russian RBT market is huge and still growing. However, customers always need music: new, cutting-edge, high quality, chart-presented, different genres. That's why UFT looks to independent record labels. Independents mostly fashion new music. We don't want to just fill up our popular cellular service with great melodies – we want to bring the latest music trends to Russia.

"UFT has 6-years of success on the mobile VAS market and we hope we’ll share our experience with Aardvark Records - not only for RBT, but for many different areas. I can see great potential in our two companies working together."

For Aardvark Music, the deal with UFT is the latest in a series of groundbreaking digital entertainment ventures, including high profile online partnerships. Last year, Aardvark struck a high profile content deal with the online computer gaming company Audio-Surf. It was also one of the first music companies to embrace the power of user-generated content by signing video distribution and revenue partnerships with ROO TV as well as distributing its videos through YouTube and then Google Video. Additional ventures have include Bebo, ReverbNation and Last FM


For more information regarding this press release,
please contact Alex di Savoia: Tel +44 (0) 1326 376 013 or
email alex@aardvarkrecords.co.uk or visit www.aardvarkrecords.co.uk

About United Fun Traders
UFT is an alliance established by the leading players in the Eastern European mobile VAS business: Herocraft, an advanced developer and publisher of mobile phone games, FounDreams, a multimedia content specialist, and i-Free, a market leader in content distribution and breakthrough community services in the former Soviet Union countries.

Doing business in international markets with UFT is both easy and rewarding. This is thanks to our flexible sales policy, our commitment to partnership, our expertise in market targeting and, last but not least, our ability to deliver branded or individual content for specific partners and specific regions.

UFT content and services are particularly appreciated by cellular operators, mobile portals, content and service providers and content distributors.

UFT was the first Russian company to join the Mobile Entertainment Forum www.m-e-f.org.

For more information about United Fun Traders:
please contact Andrey Kupriahin, Business Development Director:
Tel +7 812 318 31 00 or email cooper@u-f-t.com or visit www.u-f-t.com.

About Aardvark Music
Established in 2001, Aardvark Music Ltd is the parent company of Aardvark Records and Aardvark Dance. Aardvark is about getting its artists' music heard around the globe. Its directors’ passion for music is its foundation - and enables them to identify, develop and pursue traditional and new avenues to achieve this. The record label isn’t afraid of creating new solutions when addressing the forever-changing landscape at the cutting edge of music distribution. Its staff likes to think out of the box; trying new mediums which showcase its artists' talents, for current fans and for lovers of new and original music.

Aardvark has racked up a series of firsts. It was one of the first record labels to use podcasting. It was also one of the first labels to support internet radio. Other firsts include: providing music videos to YouTube, Google Video, Singingfool, ROO TV and a host of other online music video entertainment wesbites; providing full tracks on MySpace, Reverb Nation, Bebo and Last.fm; setting up a blog to share thoughts about music industry developments and news; and using widgets for people to share its music and its videos with their mates.

Recent audio content provision deals such as the one struck with the gaming company Audio-Surf, is a continuation of its ethos...making music for the people - and not for its accountants.

It was recently described as a 'fair trade' label by one of its artists – something that makes the Aardvark team smile.

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