Meet Denys Borysov from Volumo, the app looking to change how DJs buy, access and listen to new music… »
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Volumo is a new entrant among house and techno online marketplaces. But this one feels a bit different. Based in Estonia – one of Europe’s most-renowned and innovative tech-hubs – its premise is an ideal one: to offer music consumers an improved listening and purchasing experience, and to empower artists by giving them a percentage of royalties that’s far more in keeping with what’s currently being offered. What’s more, they’ve already got a bunch of awesome artists signed up, including Black Loops, Christian Burkhardt, KIRIK and more. Label-wise, they’ve already signed up the likes of Rhythm Cult, Berg Audio, Phoenix G, What NxT, Be As One, Talman and more. All sounds good, right? With this in mind, we caught up with one of their co-founders, Denys Borysov (himself a former DJ and producer), to get the lowdown about what’s in store… 

Denys Borysov

Tell us a bit about Volumo: what is it? And what inspired you to start it? 

Volumo is a new music download store for DJs. We founded it after being long-time customers of other music stores, and getting more and more frustrated over time by their diminishing pro user focus.

What does Volumo offer music lovers and musicians that other platforms don’t?

Two things are key: what music we offer and what is the shopping experience. We are a curated music store, which means that we have music editors specializing in different subgenres who filter out the music that is not worth our customers’ attention. And also we have powerful filtering and music discovery tools on our web site that help you to sift through massive amounts of tracks in a very productive way.

How challenging has starting a start-up like this been? Is this an area you’re familiar with? 

Volumo is my biggest project so far. I take care of the finance side because I had experience in this field in my previous non-DJ work. Speaking of how challenging it is… well, you always expect such endeavors to be challenging, but you also always underestimate how challenging it actually is. That’s what I can say about it.

I noticed that it’s currently just geared towards DJs: is there a plan to roll it out to other music lovers and across genres outside of electronic music?

We plan to maintain a strict focus on professional DJs, but of course it doesn’t prevent other people from becoming our customers. It’s just a matter of what direction they should expect in our future development.

You’ve worked as a DJ and producer before. How much has this guided your input here? 

Of course for a DJ a music store is one of the main tools. That is, your music selection is your tool for creative expression as a DJ. So by making Volumo we are making ourselves a new tool for our DJ needs. Before I go to play somewhere as a DJ, I go to Volumo and shop there for what will become my DJ set.

How is the platform different to say, Spotify, Beatport etc? Is it all about discovery but all about supporting artists?

Spotify is a completely different beast: they do streaming and no downloads, we do downloads and no streaming. Spotify or YouTube Music is what you would listen to in your car while your mind is busy with something else, but Volumo is where you go to prepare for an event as a DJ.

Comparison with Beatport is a more interesting one. I think we already talked about our advantages in discovery, but I’m glad you asked about supporting the artists as well. I don’t think existing music stores do enough to help niche artists make a living from their work (their music may be excellent, but reside in a small niche where there is not much money). We have certain plans to fix this, but this is a broad topic, probably for a whole different interview. It’s enough to say that as a small author, you have a hard time even just contacting a live human from customer support on those old-school stores.

A lot is made about how the two companies I just mentioned don’t support the artist enough. Is this something Volumo has considered? 

We have not just merely “considered” this, it’s one of our founding principles. Our motto is “Get more from your music”, which works both ways: music buyers will get more from the music they buy, and artists will get more from the music that they sell. As I said, we can discuss exact details for a long long time, so this is probably a topic of a different interview (maybe with Alex, our CEO, who loves to talk about that).

Can you tell us a bit about some of the great music and artists you’ve signed up already? 

I’d say that if something is on Volumo, it must already be great. But here are some labels whose music I personally really enjoy listening to and playing these days: Rhythm Cult, Berg Audio, Planet Rhythm, Talman Records, Peppermint Jam, What NxT, Be As One, Phoenix G, Aterral. Check them out on Volumo, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Is licensing music difficult for the platform? Do you have exclusive rights to the music you push? 

For most of the music we offer, we work on pretty much the same terms as other music stores. We follow all the best industry practices in this regard, and our “AFEM Approved” seal proudly certifies that.

And also we have exclusive deals with certain authors, which are separately marked in our system as “exclusive”. While other music stores often consider, say, a new compilation of existing tracks to be “exclusive”, we have a stricter standard for what we consider to be exclusive. It shouldn’t be available anywhere else on the Internet to be considered Volumo exclusive.

So if an artist is interested in their music appearing on Volumo, what should they do? 

There are two ways: for non-exclusive distribution, the preferred way is to go through a distributor. We already work with most electronic music distributors, so it’s a big chance that we either already have your music or we will get it soon, but if your distributor is not good enough at, you know, distributing, you can contact them and hint that they are missing a new music store.

Another way is to upload music to us directly via a special function on our website. This is how we do it for our exclusive content.

What’s the next stage in the Volumo story that’s really got you excited? 

The next stage is probably in getting more people to know about Volumo. We usually roll stuff out before we promote it, and not the other way around. So we already have a lot of interesting things to show the world, and more will come very soon.

For more information, and to sign up and buy/listen check

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