The Brag Media
News February 28, 2022

Australia’s road crew association pulls recordings from Russia following Ukraine invasion

Senior Journalist, B2B
Australia’s road crew association pulls recordings from Russia following Ukraine invasion

As the world unites in dismay on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Australia’s roadies are doing their bit.

The Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) is yanking its music recordings from the Russian market, in protest of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions and for the “accompanying unnecessary deaths, trauma and forthcoming massive refugee problem,” a statement reads.

ARCA has reportedly notified the distributor of its in-house record label Black Box Records to withdraw from sale, download or streaming its entire catalogue of artists recordings in the Russian Federation.

What that means, is the association’s fundraising repertoire will no longer be available for distribution in Russia on such platforms as Yandex, Spotify, Apple iTunes, S.a.r.l., vKontakte (VK), Sberbank, Boom, YouTube Music, Google Play Music and others.

Ian Peel, co-founder of ARCA, the not-for-profit dedicated to helping roadies, has called on the wider Australian music industry to blacklist Russia.

“The ARCA crews are family,” he says. “We celebrate our freedoms and what we’ve fought hard to achieve. Although we in no way know how much real suffering is going on in the Ukraine, we feel for its people and want to make a stand.”

Among those recordings that will be pulled from Russia are ARCA’s Desk Tape Series, cut live from the sound desk at concerts.

These tapes “document the cultural significance of the Australian live music scene and serve as important historical records, requiring a release to ensure they may never be lost,” reads a statement.

The 22-volume series includes recordings of Crowded House, Australian Crawl, Neil Finn, Men At Work, Models, and more, raising upwards of $70,000 for Support Act’s Roadies Fund.

Aus Crawl’s Bill McDonough chimes in: “Much more can be done to support the Ukrainian people. The world entertainment industry can make a stand and withdraw ALL copyrights to the Russian Federation immediately.”

Although a boycott “denies the Russian audience, many who may not support what has happened,” he continues, “it will send a message to as to how most other countries see the terrible invasion of the Ukraine by their leader Mr Putin, an act of war on the continent not seen since the invasion of Poland over half a century ago.”

Russia’s recorded music market has historically been dogged by piracy. Streaming platforms, however, have made a measurable impact on this country of 144 million consumers.

The Eastern European giant is a Top 20 streaming market, according to the IFPI, and is on track to crack the Top 10 by 2030.

Some 90% of music fans in Russia get their tunes through streaming platforms, including Spotify, which launched there in 2021 as part of the streaming brand’s biggest market expansion to date.

Many artists have spoken out since news of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine spread last Thursday (Feb. 24), and tough sanctions await from the global community.

Though, to date, music companies have largely stayed out of the fight.

Not the ARCA.

“We roadies don’t cop abuse,” says Peel. “We don’t tolerate it on a personal, local or national level.”

Of all the myriad sectors within Australia’s creative industries, roadies are the least able to part with cash. 

According to Support Act, Australia’s music crew community numbers upwards of 22,500, all of whom have gone without work over the past two years.

“There has been little support for them,” reads a statement from the music charity on the launch of its 2022 Roady4Roadies fundraiser, “other than the extraordinary efforts of Support Act, who have helped thousands in need through their darkest times.”

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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