Music History

Spotify to Russia: “No more streaming for you!” (And no one wants to go to jail, either.)

A few weeks after closing its Russian offices, Spotify has announced that it’s suspending its freemium service in the country due to repressive and ridiculous censorship laws.

The Kremlin has decreed that anyone who offers an alternative narrative to their “everything is going fine in Ukraine” nonsense can be sent to a gulag for up to 15 years. You can’t even allude to a “war” or an “invasion.” This explains why a lot of Western news services have pulled out of Russia.

And now, because Spotify is now home to a lot of anti-war messaging with songs and podcasts, the company is now worried that someone could end up in Siberia.

I quote:

“Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region.

“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.

“After carefully considering our options and the current circumstances, we have come to the difficult decision to fully suspend our service in Russia.”

Reuters says that Spotify will fully suspend its services in Russia by early April. Paid subscriptions are already a thing of the past after Western credit cards stopped working in the county.

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.

Alan Cross has 38524 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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