Why is it so hard to stop doing business with Russia? One could assume it is all about money. Some could argue there could be humane motives involved. We at the Molfar OSINT community believe there can't be a decent reason to stay connected with russia amid the russian full-scale war in Ukraine.
We have already investigated ELDORADO, the Ukrainian retailing company which is also struggling to break ties with the Russian Federation despite the genocide of the Ukrainian people. Not only that, but we have also written about Eugene Chernyak who (did not) come out of the Russian market with popular vodka brands such as Morosha, Shustoff, and Khortytsia.
Today we are revealing the results of an investigation of three Ukrainian music labels – Best Music, Umig, and Comp Music. We also explored Believe Music, the public music company based in France. They all have ties to Russia, and we have evidence of that.
Disclaimer ❗️ This is an article about music labels. Artists, bands and projects indicated in the article do not necessarily continue to cooperate with the Russian market. If you see the artist's name in the article, it means one of two things: either the artist/band/project collaborated with the label after 2014 or the artist/band/project is still legally listed as a label client.
Discover further details about each company in the Molfar OSINT investigation.
Molfar in social networks 👉 Molfar Global
Umig Music LLC (website, FB, Inst) is a Ukrainian music label founded in 2013. Playlists in 2018: VK, SoundCloud.
According to the company's announcement on Work.ua, Umig Music LLC works with Tina Karol, Ani Lorak, Irina Bilyk, Max Barskih, Olya Polyakova, MONATIK, Alloise, Anna Sedokova (under Ukrainian sanctions since 2022), DZIDZIO, Taisia Povaliy, Natalia Buchynska, Erica, S.K.A.Y., Anastasia Stotskaya, Alina Grosu, O. Torvald, Freestyle Group.
The list of artists is extensive and respectful, and that is the problem. Due to the activities of the music label associated with the Russian Federation, the “shadow of betrayal” falls on the face of all the artists listed above.
Among the artists for 2022-2023 on Yandex.Music published:
Dibrova, D.Mave, Vitaliy Kotenko, Olena Kovernik, Children of Freestyle, Severyna, Meleg, Cupid, Bad Bible, Nicholas Karma and Nivgol Lamara, Sergey Sf and Serega Soul, Зlov, Yarosa Burnos, Prosto.Sonya, Whiteblack., Santera, Odesskate, Nelya, Kuptsova, Vova Nik and Oleksa, Bredberi, Zaytsev, Iholmy, Slava Sokalo, Guitarist Flame, Andriy Kravchenko, Vasko, Victoria Kantor, Strvngelxght, Zhenya Naidenko, Lushchinska, Vlada K, Musaev, Taisha and AT, Ultra, I.S.E.E., Vlad Buchko, Iwanka, Nicholas Karma and Dj Pavaro, Svit, Shadu, Zhenya Naidenko and Underdie, Morozyaka, Olga Buina, Fedoranych, Ir's, Tori B, Arturro Mass, Serhii Semenovych, Meyer and Shadu, Finashkina, Irina Stanichnikova, Austin Digo and Natali Deniz, Nicholas Karma, W.Y., Intui, "Artem Kondratyuk", Olya Borodkina, Elmo, Vika Mirova And Lastochka, Alina Poplavska, A.R.T.E.A.N.A, Dvoe V Poli, Bay, Annaka, Francisco, Jevaga, Sionchuk, Valeriia Khrystiuk, Yarkiy Vlad.
In the list of published artists, you can clearly see that publications on the YandexMusic service are fresh, dated 2022 and 2023.
Next, we need to take a more profound look at whom the main subjects are, the people and companies in the diagrams. And in the case of Umig Music LLC, everything is tied to one person – Ryzhiy Sergey Nikolaevich (May 15, 1967), a director who owns 100% of the Umig Music LLC.
He also lobbied for a Russian project Fonmix which collects royalties for Russian showbiz and promotes Russian-language content in the B2C sphere. According to Mariana Voronina, the service was successfully promoted in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, and the actual administration is under the control of Moscow.
Mr. Ryzhyi occupies an important place in the relations of legal entities associated with the label.
Legal entities in which Ryzhiy Serhii Mykhailovych acts as a director or beneficiary:
Best Music LLC (Best Music) is a Ukrainian music label founded in 2016. The site mainly lists Ukrainian artists. And the attentive reader will notice that, for example, we chose almost the same artists as on the previous label. It's not just that the two labels are related. Further on in the text, we will reveal this question in more detail.
Among the 147 artists of Best Music LLC are the following:
Among the open playlists Best Music on Spotify (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) – artists from russia not found.
According to YandexMusic, the track for 2016 “Girl of the Year” (the link works only with the Russian IP) from the Ukrainian singer Oleynik is placed from the labels “UMIG Music” and “Best Music”. This is one example of the kind of connection we talked about at the beginning of this chapter, and it's not the last one.
There is also a single (available from the Russian IP) for 2017 Nanna, Dima Libra – “On Sails”, and a track (screenshot) for 2016 Roman Scorpion – “In Love”, from the same labels. Also, the Best Music label has a profile (link) on Yandex.Music, which is available only from the Russian IP. According to the archive for 2020, the label's profile was filled with Ukrainian artists, but after 2020 they probably deleted the songs, and the profile was sold or filled with other content. Because of now, the content of the profile is mainly Indian music, and the organization's website indicates inactive bestrecords.tv (archive for 2014).
We are interested in two people.
The first is Mariana Ihorivna Voronina/Bartosh (November 22, 1986, FB, VK) – a director who owns 60% of the company. She is also listed as a director in the musical rights' holder LLC “Ukrainian Music Publishing Group” (connection with Umig Music!). She is a member of the Supervisory Board of the Public Union "Ukrainian League of Copyright and Related Rights" (ULCRR) – an organization whose activity is to provide permits for the performance of musical works, phonograms and recorded performances in public institutions and other facilities, as well as the collection and distribution of royalties. In 2015, she was the head of the label UMIG Music! Therefore, the connection between the two labels can be traced at the level of the main beneficiaries of the companies.
The second person is Zemlynska Viktoria Mykhailivna (08.08.1985, FB), she owns 40% of the company. According to LinkedIn's Ms. Zemlynska, in 2015 she was the executive director at UMIG Music.
We again see the connection between the two labels: both owners of Best Music LLC (ownership shares 60% and 40%) in 2015 held two main leadership positions in Umig Music LLC. Coincidence? We don't think so.
From 2011 to 2014, Viktoriia Zemlynska held the position of manager for work with copyright holders in the “Ukrainian Music Publishing Group” (again, a connection with Umyg Music!). And before that, from 2007 to 2011, she was a manager at the Ukrainian label Falyosa Family Factory.
Next, we need to consider three outstanding partners of the company. The first – Warner Music Ukraine – is part of the global international structure of Warner Music Group, which left the Russian Federation in March 2022. Since 2018, Best Music has been an exclusive partner of Warner Music and Warner Chappell Music in Ukraine.
The second is Holbar Entertainment LLC, a music company founded in 2021 by Yuri Bardash (FB) and Alexei Golubev. He is engaged in the production and promotion of artists – Alexander Chemerov, You RA, Wellboy and the group “Corruption”, the catalog of which, according to the description on the site, is represented by Best Music. The company owns the following TMs – “Holbar”, “Listen Here”, “Wellboy”, “Corruption”, “You RA”, “Mushrooms”, “Quest Pistols”.
In July 2022, Yuri Bardash offered Ukraine to surrender, called the artists Nazis and insulted the Armed Forces, then fled to the Russian Federation. Before this event, Holbar Entertainment LLC, founded by Bardash, was among the partners of Best Music LLC.
The third partner of the company is the Ukrainian agency of production and management of show business stars, Secret Service EA, founded in 2007 by Mikhail Yasinsky. In 2016, Best Music began to cooperate with the company, there is a catalog of artists Secret Service EA, including: Olya Polyakova, Agon, Jerry Heil.
According to an article by detector.media, on April 15, 2014, Yasinsky, as the head of the PR agency Secret Service, created an unnamed group that released the video “No to War.” The article describes the video: “And as a role model of adequate behavior of Ukrainians in the conditions of creeping occupation, viewers are invited to sit down with Russian soldiers at the table and get drunk to the point – “Do you respect me?””. Presumably, the video was deleted, and another was left, where the Secret Service EA and the site nowar.org.ua are listed.
Comp Music Publishing LLC, Comp Music LLC (site1, site2) is a Ukrainian music label founded in 2000 by Oleg Dolinsky. He is a licensee of Universal Music Group (from March 9, 2022, the company's activities in the territory of the Russian Federation were suspended).
The site lists as its own libraries: Universal Production Music, BMG ProductionMusic, Megatrax, Music For Productions, Big Bang Music, Platinum Music, Twisted Jukebox, Strike Audio, The Music Supervisors, Atlantic Seven. According to the information on the website, they work with such Ukrainian artists as The HARDKISS, Ruslana, Jamala, TARTAK, Mad Heads, KOZAK SYSTEM, Taras Chubay, Anatoly Solovianenko, Taras Petrynenko.
In November 2021, according to detector.media, the company was searched by police. Allegedly, the searches were related to the fact that on October 29, 2021, the Security Service of Ukraine reported the detention of a “lobbyist” of show business during an attempt to bribe a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada.
The leader of the group “Antityla” Taras Topola said that the SSU detained the Director of ULASP Alexander Nikina during an attempt to bribe the people's Deputy “Servant of the people” Alexander Sanchenko. It is also noted that part of the money (for bribery) was allocated by the founder of Comp Music Oleg Dolinsky. It appears that Nikin proposed to postpone or remove from the agenda the parliament bill No. 5572 on copyright, which was to restart the sphere of collecting and distributing music royalties.
According to epravda.com.ua, in 2013, Nikin was a confidant of the ex-minister of education during the time of Yanukovych – Dmytro Tabachnyk. According to the delo.ua investigation for January 2022, partners Dolinsky and Nikin monopolized the royalty market and developed shadow money laundering schemes.
That is, the founder of the music label Comp Music is directly related to money laundering and the monopolization of the royalty market – and this is only one aspect of the label, its founder and, running ahead, the main beneficiary.
Molfar OSINT community most regrettably discovered that on behalf of Comp Music the list of published artists on the platform YandexMusic contains as many as four singles by Molfar artist. Moreover, one of the four singles was published in 2022!
The beneficiaries of Comp Music LLC are only two people, both bearing the same surname because they are presumably married.
Dolinsky Oleg (15.09.1959) – director, owns 75% of the company. Together with his probable wife Inna, in 1997 he owned the Scientific and Production LLC “Comp” (in a state of termination). He is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the “Coalition of Audiovisual and Musical Rights”, which collects, distributes and pays royalties for cable retransmission of copyright and related rights. He is a member of the Supervisory Board of the Public Union "ULASP".
His possible wife – Dolinska Inna Mykolaivna – owns 25% of the company. He is also a beneficiary of the following companies: Association “Music Industry of Ukraine”, Association “AZMP”, LLC “Comp Music Publishing”, LLC “DK Comp Limited”, LLC “Vendor Music”, LLC “Music Library”, Research and Production LLC “Comp” (in the state of termination).
Apparently, the Russian markets are too sweet. Probably, if Oleg and Inna at the beginning of a full-scale invasion lived in Mariupol – they would have found time to get rid of ties with the Russian Federation.
It is worth noting that Believe is not a label, but rather the owner or partner of labels, which in turn promote artists.
Believe Music was created for the rapid and large-scale popularization of artists. Collaboration with Believe multiplies the number of tracks listened to, and opens up great opportunities for further scaling of projects. A simple example: an artist can distribute their own tracks independently, can sign a contract with a label, and can collaborate with many labels at once through Believe Music. In the latter case, the number of listening tracks will be the largest. In addition, the profits will be greater.
The problem is that the distribution of songs on behalf of Believe takes place without any moral prohibitions. The music of artists spreads immediately in Ukraine and Russia, and other countries of the world. It is a classic situation when “music has no borders”.
Believe (company value as of March 2023 – €884.80m) is a public French music company founded in 2005 by Denis Ladegaillerie (now CEO), Arnaud Chiaramonti, Nicolas Laclias. The company is engaged in publishing and distributing of musical songs. Believe Music continues to operate in the Ukrainian market and in the Russian market, where they are actively recruiting staff and aggressively increasing their market share. The company also owns music distributors and labels:
In 2015, investment companies Siparex Group and TCV invested in Believe (Spotify is also among the investments).
It is necessary to outline why the activity of the French company in Russia is important for us. In Believe Music, the same department deals with both, the Ukrainian and Russian markets. So, the company does not see the difference: Ukrainian tracks on Russian platforms, or Russian tracks on Ukrainian platforms – the main thing is to make a profit.
These people are not direct beneficiaries of the entire company, but they will definitely receive income from Ukraine and Russia since it is the same department who deals with both markets.
Why do russian citizens still work with Ukrainian market at Believe? We at Molfar OSINT community would eagerly seize the opportunity to get answers from Believe Music, yet it remains silent and busy working in russia amid a full-scale war in Ukraine.
✉️ To contact the Molfar team and get a comment, fill out the form below, or send your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org