Spotify is suspending its services in Russia as the country’s invasion of Ukraine continues into its second month. In a statement, the company appears to reference Russia’s new law that punishes spreading fake news about the military with up to 15 years in prison as the primary reason for why it’s shutting 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,” according to a Spotify spokesperson, who asked not to be named because of “the situation in Russia.” “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.” The company expects for service to be fully suspended by early April, the spokesperson said.
Spotify removed content from Kremlin-backed outlets RT and Sputnik and closed its office in Russia earlier in March, but this new step goes further by shutting down the streaming service in the country. The company also said in March that its paid subscription service would no longer be available in Russia.
Other tech companies have similarly shut down services in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. However, Russia has taken some actions of its own, including banning Meta’s Facebook and Instagram.