Spotify “indefinitely” shutters Russian office, removes Kremlin-backed content

Spotify has shuttered its Moscow office in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and will restrict the discoverability of content owned and operated by Russian state-affiliated media.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement.

“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.”

Confirming its Moscow office would be closed “indefinitely”, the streaming platform said they were “providing individual support to our personnel” in Moscow, as well as their “global community of Ukrainian employees”.

In addition to restricting the discoverability of Russian state-affiliated media, the platform has also removed all content from Kremlin-backed outlets RT and Sputnik that was hosted on Spotify in the European Union and other markets. Additionally, it has launched a guide on the platform that directs users to localised “trusted news” sources.

Spotify has stopped short of shutting off access for their Russian users, however, saying they believe it’s “critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to allow for the global flow of information”.

“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,” the statement concluded.

Ukraine has been under attack since last Thursday (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.

Spotify is just one of many Western companies who have taken action in the days following the invasion. Earlier this week, 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”.

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 Foals have 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 week, organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest announced that no Russian act would be permitted to participate in this year’s edition of the competition.

The post Spotify “indefinitely” shutters Russian office, removes Kremlin-backed content appeared first on NME.

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