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Spotify halts service in Russia and pledges Ukraine aid

Earlier this month, Spotify, the podcast and music streaming service, suspended its subscription service in Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its second month. While the earlier action wasn’t a permanent shutdown, it sounds like Spotify has decided to tackle the issue more seriously. Via Variety, Spotify has completely halted operations in Russia, which will cost the company approximately 1.5 million subscribers.

“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,” said a company spokesman in a new 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.”

Although Spotify has only been open in Russia and Ukraine since 2020, it has a sizable audience.

Joe Rogan.
Jeff Bottari / Getty Images

One of the first things that Spotify did earlier this month was to restrict Russian state-sponsored media’s ability to co-opt the service with misinformation. Ironically, Spotify’s biggest star, Joe Rogan, has come under fire for COVID-related misinformation of his own.

Additionally, Spotify announced its plans to aid the citizens of Ukraine with the help of its own employees. Any employee donation will be matched by the company on a two-to-one basis and will aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Spotify is now the latest American company to pull out of Russia over the war, leaving a big gap behind for the citizens of that country. It’s unclear which companies will return to Russia, even when the war is eventually resolved.

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