HomeNewsSpotify suspend services in Russia, citing new laws restricting free expression

Spotify suspend services in Russia, citing new laws restricting free expression

Hassan Maishera

Music streaming platform Spotify has become the latest company to pull out of Russia.

Spotify announced on Friday that it is pulling out of Russia following the enactment of new laws restricting free expression.

Russia invaded Ukraine more than a month ago, and the Russian government has made moves to control narratives within the country. Some governments worldwide have sanctioned Russia in a bid to stop the ongoing war.

Some of the leading tech companies globally, including Apple, Google and Meta, have also suspended their operations in the country. Music streaming platform Spotify has become the latest to join this list.

According to Spotify, the new laws passed in Russia could put its employees and listeners at risk. The company said it intends to cease all operations by the end of next month.

In a statement issued today, a Spotify spokesperson said;

“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.”

Spotify remains the number one music streaming platform in the world. It also hosts and distributes a range of podcasts with political content. The company previously pulled its premium subscription from Russia but allowed Russians to enjoy its free services.

However, Spotify would now close its offices in Russia and remove Russian state media content from its platform. 

In addition to tech companies, several banks and fast-food companies like Starbucks and McDonald’s have stopped offering their services in Russia. The companies that continue to operate in Russia are facing challenges including a weaker Ruble, limited payment services and logistic problems.