Getting to know Volumo: a conversation with co-owners of a new-generation music store

today04/13/2023 244 2

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Haven’t you heard of Volumo yet? It is the new electronic music store for all those who want to find an alternative to Beatport or are simply looking for new ways to develop their artist career and label. Three partners from Ukraine launched the site: IT specialist Oleksandr Dzyubenko and his old friends Anton Severynenko and Denys Borysov. And while Oleksandr came to the project with experience in a large outsourcing company, Denis and Anton are people from the music industry circles. Previously, they have released music and toured with DJ sets as the duo named Outstrip. They released digital releases and vinyl and were notable players in the Ukrainian techno and tech house scene. Having gained various experiences, they decided to create something big. The Volumo store became this big project. We decided to talk to them about this project and much more.

Hi guys! Creating your store is an unusual vector of development for a musical project. Why did you decide to move in this direction? What gave you self-confidence when you started a big project?

Anton: I think we realized the scale of this undertaking only in the process. Every day we meet many interesting new people: distribution companies, label owners, partners, clients, and artists. The modern electronic scene proliferates because dance music is becoming a global phenomenon. During the previous 10-15 years, the most exciting things have happened in Europe or the USA. Though today we are witnessing the rapid development of the techno and house scene in Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and India. Ukraine will also add to this list after Ukraine’s victory in the war.

Denys: I agree that understanding came to us. We wanted to take on a new challenge as we had already tried everything. When we realized that we were unlikely to become world stars, we thought, okay, launching your store is another good way to hang out at the best parties for free [laughs].

We can hear any store say that they are open to all styles of music, but they have priority genres and directions. Traxsource focuses on house, soulful house, and disco. Bandcamp actively supports world and traditional music. Do you have priority genres? And how did you choose them?

Denys: Of course, we have our favorite genres because we came into this business from music. To this day, we remain music lovers. Anton and I love raw minimal and microhouse, and these are the genres that I follow especially closely.

Anton: But this does not mean that our tastes in music affect our business strategy. We are open to all styles of electronic music, but our priority is the underground scene. We aim to help talented artists shadowed by mainstream dance music on Beatport or Spotify.

You believe that the time for downloads is not only not over, but it has yet to arrive. Where exactly do you see the potential of this model now that streaming services dominate the market?

Denys: Downloads are what artists themselves need first and foremost. After all, this is a reward for their creativity. One thing is to sell a track for $2-3, while quite the opposite is getting a share of a cent from streaming. The industry cannot develop if it only considers the interests of listeners who want to pay less and big companies that want to please this cohort. Artists and visionaries created this scene, and they must remain at the center of its evolution.

Anton: We accept other music distribution and sale models when discussing downloads. Ours is the missing element of a single mechanism—the middle ground between expensive vinyl and cheap streaming.

Volumo is a curated store. I would like to know more about this. How does this work? Why do you emphasize it?

Denys: If we’re being honest, there is too much crappy music in the world. Is it possible to restrict its entry into stores? It is a matter of ethics. Spotify decided to follow the path of maximum democracy and freedom. Doing so resulted in 40% of the tracks from their catalog (millions of tracks) collecting fewer than ten streams. There used to be a clear filter. If you have a release to put out, you release it on CD or vinyl. CDs and records don’t sell if it’s terrible, and you suffer losses. When you upload an mp3 through an aggregator, you risk nothing. Hence millions of tracks from amateurs. Genuinely great releases get lost in this pile. A curated platform is not a feature for our marketing but a necessity.

Anton: So, we want to save time for DJs who currently endure listening through thousands of tracks to find a select decent few that they will purchase. 

Volumo appeared on the market relatively recently. What are your plans for the next year?

Denys: As we said, the electronic scene is a vast market. If you have an excellent product, then the main task may not be development but curbing growth. It is essential not to go into a rage by signing hundreds of thousands of new releases and attracting thousands of new customers to the site a day but to remain a boutique service that takes care of each of its artists and each music buyer.

Anton: Exactly! Therefore, we monitor and research the scene but take a balanced approach to signing new deals with distributors. We have our plan, and we follow it. And, of course, we have many ideas on how to improve the site and service. We want to launch DJ charts shortly. We have some exciting ideas about how this classic format could be reimagined. And, of course, IMS in Ibiza. We are looking forward to this trip!

Denys: As I’ve said, it’s all about the parties! [laughs]

Written by: Alejandro Serrano

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