Sony Music Group (SMG) has become the first major record company to fully exit Russia, six months after suspending operations, following the invasion by the country of Ukraine.
“As the war continues to have a devastating humanitarian impact in Ukraine, and sanctions on Russia continue to increase, we can no longer maintain a presence in Russia, effective immediately,” read a statement by Sony Music Group.
On Aug. 25, the label exited the market in Russia completely and filed the transfer and registration of “Russian company and its local roster to local management.” The local management company that will take over the Sony Russian label interests is being led by Arina Dmitrieva, a former Sony Music Russia managing director.
Sony Music Russia reportedly had about 40 to 50 staff based in Russia, who worked with the company’s record label and indie distribution channel The Orchard and SMG has completely cut all ties with local employees and artists in the region. The new company is an independent, separate entity from Sony Music Group and will solely represent locally signed artists, according to the report. International acts formerly distributed by Sony Music Russia are excluded from the transfer.
Growing into the 13th-largest music market, according to the recent IFPI “Global Music Report,” the Russian music industry saw revenues of $328 million in 2021, a 58 percent increase over 2020.
In addition to Sony Music Group pulling out of the country, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group also halted operations—promotion, new releases and manufacturing, and other investments—in early March, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Streaming services including Spotify, Amazon, and Deezer, along with video-sharing app TikTok, entertainment company Live Nation, and more have either ceased or ended operations in the country.