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Spotify will 'fully suspend' service in Russia

This follows a limited early response to the Ukraine invasion.

Broken Ethernet cable is seen in front of Russian flag and Spotify logo in this illustration taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|March 25, 2022 2:22 PM

Spotify is shuttering more of its Russian operations in response to that country's invasion of Ukraine. In a statement to Variety, the company said it would "fully suspend" service in Russia for an indefinite period. While the music streamer initially believed it was important to keep some service running to provide "trusted, independent" information, it was concerned that recent laws restricting free speech and accurate news reporting would put the safety of staff and listeners "at risk."

The company already halted access to its paid Premium service earlier in March, and removed content from state-backed Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik. This latest move will cut off free service.

The further withdrawal likely won't hurt Spotify's finances to a significant degree, but it might limit the company's influence in Russia. While the country only represents 1 percent of Spotify's total revenue, Deloitte estimated the service was the second-largest streaming music service with 36 percent share in 2021. That's no small feat when Spotify only reached Russia in July 2020, and Sensor Tower noted that there had already been nearly 15 million installs across Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Rivals have already taken action to varying degrees. Apple halted all product sales in Russia in early March, while Deezer stopped service around the same time. Spotify was an outlier in that regard, and was facing mounting pressure to cut off all access and show its support for Ukraine.