Major music companies suspend operations in Russia

The music world’s most powerful corporations – the three major record conglomerates and touring giant Live Nation – are cutting ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, and artists like Green Day and AJR have canceled concerts in Russia.

On Thursday, Sony and Warner Music both announced – minutes apart – that they were suspending operations in Russia. Their statements came two days after Universal Music, the largest conglomerate, said it was closing its offices in Russia and ceasing to do business there.

Last week, Live Nation said, “We will not promote shows in Russia and we will not do business with Russia. We are in the process of reviewing our suppliers so that we can stop working with all Russian-based suppliers. »

Apple suspended sales of its products in Russia and said it was disabling some features of its Maps app to protect Ukrainian citizens. Spotify Chief Financial Officer Paul Vogel told an investor conference on Wednesday that the company had suspended the premium or paid tier of its streaming service there, which would result in the loss of around $1. 5 million paid accounts.

But Vogel said Spotify would continue to operate its free service in Russia, to be an outlet for “non-propaganda related information” via the podcasts it hosts. “We think it’s really important that the information is still flowing out there,” he said. Spotify last week closed its Russian office and said it was removing content from Kremlin-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik, along with Facebook, TikTok and other tech platforms.

The company’s moves followed a flurry of announcements by artists canceling planned tour dates in Russia and Ukraine. Green Day was due to play at Spartak Stadium in Moscow on May 29, but wrote on Instagram that he would not make the trip “in light of current events”. My chemical romance, Björk, Iron Maiden, Louis Tomlinsonthe killers, Iggy Pop, RDA and Franz Ferdinand have all retired from shows.

Russia, despite its size, is a small market for music. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a global trade group, Russia generated just under $200 million in recorded music revenue in 2020, making it the 16th most valuable territory in the world, behind the Mexico and Sweden. But it was seen as a major growth area and, increasingly, a touring destination.

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