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All three major music labels have now suspended operations in Russia

Universal Music Group announced on Tuesday that it is suspending operations in Russia. Both Sony Music and Warner Music made similar announcements on Thursday.
Valerie Macon
/
AFP via Getty Images
Universal Music Group announced on Tuesday that it is suspending operations in Russia. Both Sony Music and Warner Music made similar announcements on Thursday.

Updated March 11, 2022 at 10:59 AM ET

The entertainment exodus from Russia is continuing. Both Sony Music and the Warner Music Group announced Thursday that they would be suspending operations in Russia.

All three of the U.S. major music labels have now ceased operations in the country: Universal Music Group was the first to do so with its announcement on Tuesday.

In Sony's announcement, the company directly acknowledged the war in Ukraine.

"Sony Music Group calls for peace in Ukraine and an end to the violence," the company statement said. "We have suspended operations in Russia and will continue our support of global humanitarian relief efforts to aid victims in need."

Warner Music is majority-owned by Len Blavatnik, a Soviet-born businessman who is a naturalized citizen of the U.S. and U.K.

In its statement, Warner Music said it would continue humanitarian efforts. The company has said it is supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross and has a direct link to a donation page on its Instagram profile.

"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," the company said in a statement sent to NPR. "We will continue to fulfill 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."

Music labels aren't the only entertainment entities moving away from Russia. Major Hollywood studios, including Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures Entertainment, have said they are delaying the release of new blockbusters in Russia.

The gaming industry has done the same.

Sony said Wednesday it would stop all sales of PlayStation consoles in Russia and disable the PlayStation Store. Microsoft did the same with its Xbox consoles and online services last week.

Electronic Arts also said it would "stop sales of our games and content including virtual currency bundles, in Russia and Belarus while the conflict continues."

On a larger scale, Nintendo announced Tuesday that "in light of recent world events," it was delaying the release of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp to all markets. The game was scheduled to come out on April 8.


This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: March 10, 2022 at 11:00 PM CST
An earlier version of this story characterized Len Blavatnik as a "Russian oligarch." A spokesperson representing Blavatnik objected to the term because, among other reasons, Blavatnik is not among individuals sanctioned as oligarchs by the U.S. Justice Department. NPR reported on Blavatnik's history and his disdain for the word "oligarch" in this 2017 story.