Earlier this month, Spotify, the podcast and music streaming service, suspended its subscription service in Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, now in its second month. While the earlier action wasn’t a permanent shutdown, Spotify appears to have decided to take a more serious approach to the issue. About diversitySpotify has completely halted operations in Russia, which will cost the company around 1.5 million subscribers.
“Spotify continues to believe it is critical to try to keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region,” a company spokesman said in a new statement. “Unfortunately, recent legislation that further restricts access to information, stifles free speech, and criminalizes certain types of messages is putting the safety of Spotify employees and potentially even our listeners at risk. After carefully considering our options and the current circumstances, we have made the difficult decision to completely suspend our service in Russia.”
Although Spotify has only been open in Russia and Ukraine since 2020, it has a sizable audience.
One of the first things Spotify did earlier this month was to limit the ability of state-sponsored Russian media to co-opt the service with misinformation. Ironically, Spotify’s biggest star is Joe Rogan has come under fire for COVID-related misinformation from his own.
In addition, Spotify announced its plans to help the citizens of Ukraine with the help of its own employees. Every employee donation is matched two to one by the company and supports humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Spotify is now the latest American company to pull out of Russia because of the war, leaving a huge void for the citizens of that country. It’s unclear which companies will return to Russia, even if the war is eventually settled.
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