Spotify officially suspends services in Russia

Spotify has announced it will be suspending its services in Russia due to the country’s censorship laws. This follows Spotify’s decision to close its offices in Russia earlier this year following Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine. The streaming service also suspended access to premium accounts in the country. According to a statement sent to Pitchfork, Spotify initially planned to keep their services operational in Russia in order “to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region.” 

However, recent legislation passed by the Russian government which tightens internet censorship and includes banning American apps such as Instagram has prompted Spotify to suspend their services entirely. “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,” Spotify continued in their statement. “After carefully considering our options and the current circumstances, we have come to the difficult decision to fully suspend our service in Russia.”

Meanwhile, new data released by Spotify via their data sharing website Loud & Clear has revealed that the streaming service paid out $4 billion to major record labels last year, the largest payout from any streaming service to the industry giants. A total of $7 billion was paid out, the highest payout from a streaming service to the industry in history. For the first time, more than 1000 artists managed to make $1 million in revenue from Spotify, though this was shared between the artist and their respective industry partners such as publishers and rights holders.