Could Russian musicians tip the scales for Ukraine?

While there have been plenty of artists outside Russia protesting and taking action against Vladimir Putin’s stupid invasion of Ukraine, there are also plenty of domestic artists risking their careers (and more!) by speaking out against the war. The list includes:

  • Oxxymiron
  • Kasta
  • Shym
  • Vladi
  • Khamil
  • Zmey
  • Noize MC

All of the above are rappers–and hip hop has a lot of cultural currency in Russia. Alexander Blinov works for Warner Music Russia and was joined by ADA Russia’s Alexander Kasparov to explain:

“The dominant genre at the moment is local hip-hop, and pop music that uses hip-hop beats, It’s not simply an echo of the US hip-hop sound, but also draws its roots from a folk tradition called Chastushka, which saw two artists perform poems – with a strong satirical element – over upbeat music.”

About 70% of all the music streamed in Russia is by domestic artists. If enough of them start coming out against the war, that could have a major effect on public sentiment, especially among young people.

Speaking of streaming, what if Spotify and the other music streaming platforms blocked Russians from accessing their services?

Meanwhile, Music Ally reports that YouTube is “pausing” monetization for a selection of Russian channels, including news channel RT. Facebook won’t let state-owned Russian outlets from buying ads. Apple is being pressured to stop selling its stuff in Russia. TikTok is being monitored for Russian disinformation.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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