How Russia's Invasion On Ukraine Is Affecting The Music Industry • Volume
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Written by: Shay Coulson | Photo(s) by: Wikiwand

How Russia’s Invasion On Ukraine Is Affecting The Music Industry

We’ve all been hearing the horrifying daily news of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Each day brings more updates of not only the millions of innocent citizens fleeing Ukraine, but also the dozens of businesses across the globe cutting ties with Russian entities. There’s no telling how long the effects of this will last, but what we do know is that this invasion has cost an exponential amount of loss and suffering from people around the world, including a plethora of businesses from all facets of life.

Hollywood Studios, Disney, Warner Bros, Adidas, Nike, Apple, Exxon Mobil, UPS, FedEx, Nokia, and dozens more have all halted their partnerships and day-to-day operations to and within Russia, resulting in both Ukrainian and Russian citizens experiencing the economic downfall caused by this imperialistic attack.

The music industry hasn’t been exempt from experiencing the damage resulted from the ongoing invasion. Musicians count on their Russian fanbase to make headlining stops in the country while record labels and industry locations depend on Russian support. Now, we’re seeing an influx of musicians cancel their Russia tour dates and entertainment operations in Russia come to a halt.

Live Nation first showed us how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is affecting the music industry. The entertainment industry powerhouse, which has operated a Moscow office since the early 2010s, has announced it will cease all business activity with Russia. The company has also vowed to not promote shows in Russia and is cutting-ties with its Russia-based suppliers.

“Live Nation joins the world in strongly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” reads a statement from the company. “We will not promote shows in Russia, and we will not do business with Russia. We’re in the process of reviewing our vendors so we can cease work with any and all Russian-based suppliers.”

Additionally, Spotify has shuttered its office space in Russia indefinitely. Also hosting an office in Moscow for many years, the streaming service has restricted the discoverability of content owned and operated by Russian state-affiliated media and removed all RT and Sputnik content from its platform in the European Union and other markets.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement. “Our first priority over the past week has been the safety of our employees and to ensure that Spotify continues to serve as an important source of global and regional news at a time when access to information is more important than ever.”

However, it’s important to note that Spotify will not disable streaming with Russia, stating, “We think it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to allow for the global flow of information,” the statement reads.

Moreso, sports and entertainment firm Oak View Group (OVG) is boycotting Russia, halting business relations in the country and ceasing the sale of Russian brands in all of its global venues.

“In light of the tragic conflict rapidly unfolding in Ukraine, Oak View Group has pledged to not do business in or with Russia, nor will we serve Russian brands in any of our venues on a global basis, effective immediately,” a company statement said. “We stand with the people of Ukraine, we condemn the actions of Russia, and we hope our stance inspires others in our industry to take action where they can.”

On an individual scale, artists and bands are canceling shows in Russia at a rapid rate. Russian rapper Oxxxymiron has canceled six sold-out shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg out of protest, while other global artists like Green Day, Health, Nick Cave, Franz Ferdinand, AJR, Louis Tomlinson, Yungblud, The Killers, Iggy Pop, Bring Me The Horizon, and more have canceled their global tour stop in Russia or their upcoming Moscow-based Park Live Festival appearance.


Let’s not forget the detrimental effect Russian artists are also now experiencing. Eurovision Song Contest, the international songwriting competition, has banned Russian artists and musicians from entering this year’s contest. Russia has competed in Eurovision since 1994 and has helped advance the career of some of today’s most prominent musicians, including Dima Bilan.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” the Executive Board of the European Broadcasting Union, which produces Eurovision, said in a statement.

Even the opera isn’t immune from needing to speak out and address its ties with Russia. New York’s famed opera house, the Metropolitan Opera, announced it would suspend its ties to Russian artists and institutions who are allied with Vladimir Putin.

“As an international opera company, the Met can help ring the alarm and contribute to the fight against oppression…we can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him — not until the invasion and killing has been stopped, order has been restored and restitutions have been made,” Met general manager, Peter Gelb said in a statement. “It’s terrible that artistic relationships, at least temporarily, are the collateral damage of these actions by Putin.”

Among those suspended include the Mariinsky Theatre (formerly Kirov) in St. Petersburg; its general and artistic director, the conductor Valery Gergiev, who is also the Met’s former principal guest conductor; and star soprano Anna Netrebko, who appears frequently on the Met’s stage.

While dozens of music organizations and artists have cut ties with Russia, others are using their voice and power to progress aid and charity to Ukraine. Universal Music Group, which also holds a Russian branch, is supporting organizations that are providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees. Germany’s Event Management Forum, which holds five major organizations including BDKV and LiveKomm, is currently working on organizing a benefit concert for Ukraine where proceeds will be donated to the International Aid Fund for Culture and Education.

“By performing this task, we hope to be able to make a small contribution to the return of peace and freedom to the people of both Ukraine and Russia,” said Jens Michow, executive president of the BDKV.

Music festivals like Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival hosted the “Concert for Ukraine” that featured more than 20 artists to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Others helping in raising awareness and aid to Ukraine include global modular system retailer Erica Synths, Russian label Gost Zvuk, U.S. label Dark Entries, and more.

In actuality, there’s no true measurement of just how costly Russia’s invasion on Ukraine will have on the world and its ongoing effect in the music industry. If you want to show your support for the people of Ukraine, consider donating to organizations raising humanitarian funds here.