Spotify are reportedly set to suspend its service in Russia in response to the country’s newly announced media law.
According to Reuters, the streaming platform, which closed its office in Russia indefinitely earlier this month due to Moscow’s “unprovoked attack on Ukraine”, is expected to cease in the country late next month.
It comes after Russia introduced a new legislation that makes it illegal to report any event that could discredit the Russian military.
“Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information from the region,” the company said in a statement.
“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 the possibility of even our listeners at risk.”
Ukraine has been under attack since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation in the neighbouring country. The decision prompted Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to sever diplomatic ties with Russia and declare martial law, and sparked widespread condemnation and the enacting of sanctions by countries across the globe.
In addition to its potential shutdown, Spotify has also removed all content from Kremlin-backed outlets RT and Sputnik that was hosted on the platform in the European Union and other markets. Spotify has also launched a guide on the platform that directs users to localised “trusted news” sources.
Spotify is just one of many Western companies who have taken action in the days following the invasion. Earlier this month, tech giant Apple halted all product sales in Russia, with the company saying in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” with the invasion and stood with those “suffering as a result of the violence”. Netflix has also suspended its service in Russia.
In the world of music, Green Day, Yungblud, Louis Tomlinson, Franz Ferdinand, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave are among those who have cancelled scheduled concerts in Russia. Meanwhile, Russian rapper Oxxxymiron also cancelled a string of sold-out shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg, saying in a statement: “I know that most people in Russia are against this war”.
David Gilmour, Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Dee Snider and Foalshave voiced their support for the people of Ukraine. Additionally, Ukrainian artists such as metal band Jinjer, Ukrainian-born, London-based pop duo Bloom Twins, and Lviv-based pop singer Khrystyna Soloviy have spoken out in light of the ongoing crisis, with the latter two acts recently speaking to NME about the conflict.
Last month, organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest announced that no Russian act would be permitted to participate in this year’s edition of the competition.