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News March 11, 2022

Music industry’s Russia exodus gathers momentum as Sony Music, WMG exit

Senior Journalist, B2B
Music industry’s Russia exodus gathers momentum as Sony Music, WMG exit

The music industry’s biggest players are deserting their positions en masse in Russia, with all three major music companies confirming they would cease to do business there while the Ukraine is under attack.

In a statement issued overnight, WMG said it was suspending operations in Russia, including investments in and development of projects, promotional and marketing activities, and manufacturing of all physical products.

“We will continue to fulfill our agreed upon obligations to our people, artists, and songwriters as best we can as the situation unfolds,” the statement reads. “We remain committed to supporting the humanitarian relief efforts in the region.”

Sony Music issued its own message, calling for “peace in Ukraine and an end to the violence,” while confirmed the music giant had “suspended operations in Russia and will continue our support of global humanitarian relief efforts to aid victims in need.”

According to Billboard, Sony has roughly three dozen employees in the market.

Earlier, UMG, the world’s biggest music company; streaming giant Spotify and concerts juggernaut Live Nation took a stand. Indies Kobalt and Downtown have since joined the exodus

On Tuesday, UMG announced the immediate suspension of all operations in Russia and the closure of its offices there. ”We urge an end to the violence in Ukraine as soon as possible,” reads a statement.

“We are adhering to international sanctions and, along with our employees and artists, have been working with groups from a range of countries to support humanitarian relief efforts to bring urgent aid to refugees in the region.”

After a protracted, hard-fought entry into the market, Spotify now cuts ties with Russia.

This week, the streamer suspended its premium service there, a move that’s expected to immediately shed some 1.5 million paying customers.

One of the first to music organisations to bail was the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA), which yanked its music recordings from the Russian market, and urged others to head for the exits.

Russia now find itself an economic pariah following Vlad Putin’s decision to invade its neighbour, a sovereign democracy, as sanctions bite and the global business community pull their goods and services in protest.

Some of the world’s leading brands have left Russia in recent days, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

At least 549 civilian lives have been lost following the Feb. 24 invasion, 41 of whom were children, the United Nations said.


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