Spotify Technology SA has announced the suspension of its service in Russia, citing a refusal to comply with new rules requiring audio streaming to be censored in the country.
The Swedish corporation dissolved its Russian branch earlier this month and placed restrictions on consumers’ ability to find shows produced by Russian official media.
Following the suspension of their licenses by the European Union, it also deleted content from Russia’s state-owned RT and Sputnik in the EU and other markets.
Spotify stated at the time that it was critical to maintain its service operational in Russia so that information could flow freely.
"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," a Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch.
"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.” The company expects service to be fully suspended by early April, the spokesperson said.
Russia had been a music market on the rise before the invasion of Ukraine, as our recent country profile explained. The IFPI ranked it as the 13th biggest recorded music market in 2021, up from 16th the previous year, thanks to 58.2% growth in revenues. However, now global streaming services are pulling out of the market, while the flow of new international music releases is also being cut off for Russian DSPs.
In response, numerous news organizations, including The New York Times and CNN, pulled their journalists out of Russia or suspended broadcasts in the country.