Spotify Pulls Service from Russia Due to Censorship Laws

As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, Spotify, the largest music streaming service in the world, is pulling its service from the country, the company confirmed to Rolling Stone on Friday. Spotify cited recently passed censorship laws in Russia and the danger such actions poses for Spotify’s employees and customers as the catalyst to shut the service down in the country.

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

Spotify expects service will be fully suspended in Russia by early April. Pulling the service entirely is by far the heaviest measure Spotify has taken against Russia to date. Previously, the company closed its Russian offices, stopped offering Spotify Premium subscriptions in Russia and announced measures to limit discoverability of Russian state-owned media on the platform. Artists like Green Day, Louis Tomlinson and the Killers pulled Russian tour dates following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and concert promoter Live Nation said it wouldn’t do business with Russia.

Outside of music, major entertainment companies including Disney and Warner Brothers announced at the beginning of March that they’d halt film releases in Russia, while Apple paused sales of its products and limited access to its digital services in the country.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.