Major companies suspend their operations in Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine. The list of companies halting operations in Russia is very long and includes giants such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Universal Music Group. Those companies that remain active in Russia have experienced huge social media backlash.
Where is Spotify in all that? Is the biggest music streaming company also halting services in Russia? What happens to the paid subscribers of Spotify? Read further to find out.
Is Spotify available in Russia?
After closing its Moscow offices in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Spotify has confirmed that Premium subscription is no longer available in Russia.
Truth be told, Spotify had no choice but to suspend its premium service in Russia. Currently, all credit card companies and online payment providers are boycotting the Russian market. Thus, users in Russia wouldn’t be able to pay for a Spotify subscription anyway.
Russians can still use Spotify, but their access is limited to a free plan only. All premium accounts will remain valid until the subscription period and after that users will be transferred into free accounts.
Spotify’s spokesperson said that Spotify will not pull out all of its operations completely from the Russian market as it’s important to provide Russians with access to global content (especially news-based podcasts).
"We believe that it is of utmost importance that our service is available in Russia to allow a global flow of information," Spotify said.
So yes, the service is still open to Russian users, but with certain limitations.
Does Russia have Spotify?
Spotify is the largest streaming service in the world. First launched in Sweden in 2006, it’s currently available in 184 countries. The streaming service entered Russia in 2020, together with other 12 European locations. The launch was extremely successful. Russians have been long awaiting Spotify’s entry and on the launch day the app saw tremendous download rates.
According to a 2021 Deloitte report, Spotify took second place in the ranking of the most popular music streaming services in Russia. Yandex Music was first, but this comes as no surprise. After all, Yandex Music is powered by Yandex: the largest search engine in Russia.
Yandex Music offers free and paid music streaming and a lot of Russian users are transferring now from Spotify to Yandex. Since Spotify suspended premium accounts in Russia, this will probably lead to the streaming service’s loss of 1.5 million subscribers. Most of them will transfer playlists to Yandex Music or Russian Spotify alternative: VK Music.
However, Russia accounts for only 1% of Spotify’s total revenue so the music streaming giant is not expected to take a great financial toll.
Does Spotify not work in Russia?
Spotify users can listen to music in both free and paid mode. Russians are denied access to premium accounts, which means they can only use Spotify on a free plan. What is the difference between Spotify premium and Spotify free? Spotify premium has much higher quality, no ads, and can be used offline. Spotify free offers access to a whole music and podcast catalog, but listening is interrupted by ads and sound quality is much worse.
From Spotify to Yandex Music
Russians are not completely denied the service. They can still use Spotify free, but many decided to transfer from Spotify to another music service. The most popular destination platform is Yandex Music, followed by VK Music.
Currently, moving playlists with FreeYourMusic is not possible in Russia for the same reason why Spotify is no longer offering premium subscriptions. For unlimited transfers, FreeYourMusic requires a paid license and international payment methods are suspended in Russia.