Spotify Announces It’s Suspending Services in Russia

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Spotify announced on Friday (March 25th) that it is suspending its services in Russia due to the new country’s censorship law. The media corporation criticized the country’s new media restrictions.

According to Fox Business, Spotify states that the new law further restricts access to information. It also eliminates free expression and criminalizes certain types of news. The company explained the regulations put the safety of its employees and potential listeners at risk.

The company also issued a statement. “Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try and keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region. Unfortunately, recently enacted legislation further restricting access to information, eliminating free expression, and criminalizing certain types of news puts the safety of Spotify’s employees and possibly even our listeners at risk. After carefully considering our options and the current circumstances. We have come to the difficult decision to fully suspend our service in Russia.”

A source told Fox Business that the company is looking for ways to encourage listeners to use VPN services to access streaming services, independent news, and information providers. 

Spotify Originally Closed Its Office in Russia Amid the Country’s Conflict in Ukraine

The latest update comes just weeks after Spotify issued a statement about the war between Russia and Ukraine. “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine. Our first priority over the past week has been the safety of our employees. And to ensure that Spotify continues to serve as an important source of global and regional news. At a time when access to information is more important than ever.”

In response to the situation, Spotify decided to close its office in Russia indefinitely. The company also said it is providing individual support to its people in the region. As well as our global community of Ukrainian employees. “Our employees around the world are committed to helping people affected by the war in Ukraine. And we are matching their donations two to one to support local humanitarian efforts. We are exploring additional steps that we can take. And will continue to do what is in the best interest of our employees and our listeners.”

Spotify is mobilizing its Artist Fundraising Pick feature to help raise funds for the Ukraine efforts. The company also said earlier this month that it is launching a global guide on its platform to provide users around the world with trusted news. At the time, the company noted it was critically important to keep its service operation in Russia to allow the global flow of information. 

Along with Spotify’s shutdown of Russian operations, three recording companies have also closed offices in Russia. These companies are Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Group.