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More music companies cut ties with Russia in protest over the war in Ukraine

By | Published on Friday 11 March 2022

Ukraine flag

More music companies have confirmed that they have suspended their operations in Russia – a key growth market for the record industry in recent years – in protest at the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Sony Music, Warner Music, Kobalt and FUGA are all also supporting organisations involved in the humanitarian efforts in and around Ukraine.

Having confirmed it was making donations to organisations like the Red Cross, Direct Relief and International Medical Corps last week, in a short statement yesterday Sony Music said: “Sony Music Group calls for peace in Ukraine and an end to the violence. We have suspended operations in Russia and will continue our support of global humanitarian relief efforts to aid victims in need”.

Shortly after, a similar statement was made by Warner Music, which confirmed: “Warner Music Group is suspending operations in Russia, including investments in and development of projects, promotional and marketing activities, and manufacturing of all physical products. We will continue to fulfil our agreed upon obligations to our people, artists, and songwriters as best we can as the situation unfolds. We remain committed to supporting the humanitarian relief efforts in the region”.

A statement from Kobalt read: “Like the rest of the world, we at Kobalt are deeply unsettled by Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful invasion of Ukraine. We urge and are hopeful for a peaceful resolution to the conflict soon. To aid the humanitarian efforts on the ground, Kobalt has made donations to the following organisations: Global Giving – Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children”.

“In addition”, it went on, “Kobalt will suspend all business activity in Russia and have voiced our support for any decisions that would cut off the local Russian collection society, RAO, from the network of collection societies”.

FUGA’s CEO Pieter van Rijn issued a longer statement setting out how his company has been supporting its colleagues in Ukraine, as well as making donations to various humanitarian organisations currently working in the region.

He then turned to more logistical matters, noting: “FUGA is a company headquartered in the heart of Europe and these events are very upsetting to us all. We as an organisation aim to embody and take seriously the ideals of tolerance, cooperation and collective spirit. Therefore we feel it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are not actively supporting state-run media or other individuals with close ties to the Russian leadership”.

He then confirmed that, as of yesterday, FUGA had suspended “delivering any new music from our FUGA Aggregation License to the following digital service providers and content platforms: Yandex, vKontakte (delivered via UMA) and Zvooq/Sberzvuk. For the time being, we have not taken any measures to remove content already live on these services delivered via the FUGA Aggregation License”.