Now SoundExchange pulls out of Russia

US performance rights organization SoundExchange has become the latest music industry entity to cut ties with Russia.

SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe announced the news to staff today (March 11) in a letter, seen by MBW.

In the letter, Huppe reveals that SoundExchange has terminated its agreement with the Russian Organization for Intellectual Property (VOIS).

Huppe writes that SoundExchange doesn’t “take this action lightly but believe it’s important to demonstrate our support for the people of Ukraine”.

Huppe added: “Ultimately, the flow of performance royalties between SoundExchange and VOIS is not significant, but as a matter of principle, we believe this is the right course of action.”

Sound Exchange’s announcement follows the news that Spotify is no longer taking any money out of Russia – via ads or subscribers.

Meanwhile, Kobalt Music Group and Downtown – have in the past 24 hours both confirmed that they are suspending business activity in/with Russia.

All three major music companies (UniversalSony, and Warner) have also this week announced they are halting their own business activities in the market.

Additionally, Paris-headquartered Believe tells MBW that it currently has no plans to suspend business activities in Russia. A company spokesperson told us that this was Believe’s strategy “for the moment”, but added that the firm is “monitoring the situation very closely”.

Elsewhere, the UK’s PRS For Music took action earlier this week, announcing that it had “formally suspended, with immediate effect, our rights representation relationship with RAO, the Russian collecting society for musical works, pending confirmation of its separation from the Russian Government and those individuals and companies on the sanctions lists”.

The umbrella group for music publishing collection societies – CISAC – has not suspended RAO from its global network of members, despite calls to do so from senior figures in the music publishing industry.

CISAC announced on Wednesday (March 9) that it was launching a support fund dedicated to helping the victims of the war in Ukraine – but once again stopped short at suspending RAO. The fund was approved by the CISAC Board.Music Business Worldwide

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