How to listen to Salikh Saydashev on streaming services?

Why isn’t the heritage of Tatar music available on digital platforms?

How to listen to Salikh Saydashev on streaming services?

Why cannot 20th-century Tatar music be found on digital platforms? Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent Radif Kashapov looked for economic and psychological explanations for the impossibility of legally listening to Alfiya Avzalova and Zifa Basyrova on Spotify and Yandex.Music.

“It is unprofitable for us to do such a business electronically”

If we open any popular streaming platform, popular Tatar pop singers can quite easily be found there. As we see on the line about copyright, these songs are published directly by an artist, without any labels, while the promotion is carried out via videos and Instagram. At the same time it is clear that artists earn on concerts and corporate parties, not on the total view count. To compare, on Spotify, Firdus Tyamayev has 7,256 listeners a month, while AIGEL duet does 169,435. Since the author receives a very small amount for every listening measured in kopeks, this obviously will not help with a low count.

However, there will be confusion if one tries to find 60-80’s pop stars on these platforms. There is almost nobody. If you want to listen to Alfiya Avzalova, look for what their fans or TV channels posted them on YouTube or As the singer’s daughter, Zufliya Nigmedzyanova-Avzalova, says, an mp3 with 100 songs was released with the support of the Tatarstan president a few years ago:

“Only I and my sister have the copyright, only we have it. Now I am going to travel from America and start a conversation about their publication on platforms. The records were made on radio, there is something from my personal archive, there are some pre-recorded tracks. And if this appears somewhere else, the publisher will have to agree with heirs.”

Aksu studio that is now famous for dubbing cartoons released 100 songs. As its head Rustam Sarvarov says, in such albums they were artists:

“For instance, the head of Muslyumovo District helped us to release Zifa Basyrova, she comes from this district. There weren’t agreements because there is no copyright in Russia. And it is unprofitable for us to do such a business electronically. But now nobody buys CDs, even artists themselves don’t.”

How Ilgam Shakirov is released illegally on the Net

Curiously, there are two albums of Ilgam Shakirov online. Their names — Immortal Songs and Forever in the Soul — indicate that the songs come from disc albums. Allegedly, the singer himself has the copyright, however, his relatives aren’t familiar with the phenomenon of streaming platforms. The case is that any record can be published on platforms, in fact, via special websites. Moreover, the publisher agrees he has the right to this. Consequently, if there is no disagreement, the record yields profits for a stranger.

As Ilgam Khaziyev who was Shakirov’s aide for many years says that the state should deal with such projects:

“When Mr Shakirov was alive, we released discs. I remember the last one consisted of some 30 songs, we didn’t make it for a sale but as gifts. I am not a specialist in this area, the state, the philharmonic, music connoisseurs should do this by dividing the art into periods. At the moment, all this will be published illegally.”

As for other stage veterans, Rimma Ibragimova, for instance, admitted she hadn’t been dealing with the release for a long time.

“I don’t record my songs. But I have an archive of records. I should ask my son for advice, he is good at computers.”

Besides where digital records and radio archives published by somebody can be found, Tatar music of the past is heard on Tartip radio. As music director Leyla Shagiyeva says, composers themselves often bring them music, like Azat Khusainov.

“The radio itself has been existing since 2014. I can speak about my period, authors often come to us, bring their discs. As for our stars, let’s say, Alfiya Afzalova, we choose songs from our collection. Then we submit a report to the Russian Authors’ Society where authors or heirs can get their money.”

I notice that heirs of a lot of songs obviously will not go anywhere. But everything is legal. It is necessary to explain that in Russia it is necessary to distinguish rights to a composition from the rights to a track. That’s to say, the composer, the poet, the arranger, the performer have rights. And according to the rules, it is necessary to agree with all of them.

TNV plans to create its own archive platform

In Tatarstan, the records made in the USSR were created on the local radio, the job was paid, which means these tracks belong to the state. Last year, remembering head of the editorial board of music programmes on Tatarstan channel Rafael Ilyasov, Taufik Sagitov, director of the radio broadcasting service, says that the radio collection has nearly 60,000 valuable records. Something from this collection appears on the Net, but employees clearly do this at their own risk and peril.

Also, apart from Tatarstan Radio, this music can be listened to in Tatarstan Voice online app.

As Director General of Novy Vek TV and radio company Ilshat Aminov said, in 2022, this collection will become more available and claimed their own Spotify was created:

“We plan to launch the Video on Request project next year. For a low price, one can see a play, programme, listen to a song from our archive. TNV-shop is one of the variants of the name. Nowadays we are developed an app, its architecture is complex enough.”

In fact, the Rashid Vagapov Fund released Snowdrop collection of 24 songs last year demonstrates a rare example of keeping up with the time.

“We have non-exclusive rights to these songs (Editor’s note: obviously, a non-exclusive licence is meant),” says Director of the fund Rifat Fattakhov. “We got these songs from the radio’s collection some 20 years ago. We released them in Moscow five years ago. In general, Vagapov’s 78 recorded songs have survived. Without doubt, to publish them, a systemic work is needed at state level.”

Rector of the Kazan Conservatory Vadim Dulat-Aleyev notes that hits organisation releases a part of the music collection in the public domain saying that it is a part of the educational edition. So 256 records can be found on the website Century of Tatar Music: for instance, a fragment of Nazib Zhiganov’s Symphony No. 2 performed by the Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra. But one has to wait for three years to listen to Saydashev without problems:

“When it comes to Saydashev, the issue can be resolved after 2024: it will be the 70th anniversary of his death, its works will become a public domain,” the rector says. “The others will have to be expected for a long time. This is why the circulation is illegal or semi-illegal. This situation arose because of adopting legislation on copyright post factum.”

The problem is also that it is hard for publishers to find heirs and them come to an agreement with them. One thing is to get a share from publishing a beautiful book, disc or notes, another thing is to publish everything on the Internet. Elderly rights holders don’t understand the nuances.

It is noteworthy that Ilgam Shakirov has now 765 listeners on Spotify. This is little. However, without this option we cannot say that Tatarstan remembers the voice of Tatar music, no matter how many monuments are placed.

State Symphony Orchestra makes collections, Melody is ready for cooperation

As for the above-mentioned Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra, many composers’ records can be found its website. There are few locals, but it is those who are in the Anthology of Tatarstan Music Composers.

At the same time, a huge box set Tchaikovsky 2020 can be listened to on any digital platforms as well as Shostakovich and Rakhmaninov’s compositions. Ivan Andreyev, PR director, notes that every concert of the Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra is recorded digitally for the archive, while last year, TNV channel recorder one of the concerts of Miras Tatar music festival.

Collections of Melody music label is another archive of Tatar music. It provided a list of 500 compositions dating back to the 1950-1980s recorder at studios of the USSR record monopolist on request.

“If the record was made on the radio, it has a special piece of paper according to which a singer received some money for it,” explains specialist of the Digital Department Dmitry Maslyakov. “The radio has the rights to it, which means anybody who sings an agreement with it can release it. But there is copyright, poet’s rights, music rights, arrangement rights. Authors can make complains — it will be necessary to agree with them on royalties. Sometimes authors are against publication, then it has to be deleted from platforms.”

Melody is ready to restore records of its archive and release if Tatarstan provides information support, Maslyakov says. They public records and then wait for rights holders’ reaction.

“Because such records have their public. The process takes much time, our specialists restore these records, adapt the sound standard to today’s requirements. But such releases can be scheduled for next year.”

Radif Kashapov