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Warner Music Group suspends operations in Russia

All three major record companies have now suspended their operations in Russia amidst the invasion of Ukraine.

Warner Music Group announced today (March 10) that it is suspending its operations there.

WMG’s announcement follows the news from earlier today that Sony Music Group has suspended its operations in Russia.

On Tuesday (March 8), Universal Music Group, the world’s largest rightsholder, suspended all operations in Russia and has closed its offices in the country.

In a statement issued today, a Warner Music Group spokesperson said: “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 statement added: “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.”

All three majors have also made donations to organizations focusing on the people of Ukraine.

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On Friday March 4, Warner Music Group’s leadership team issued an internal email to employees worldwide that revealed the company has been matching employee donations to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

WMG also publicly confirmed its support for the ICRC via social media,

The third biggest music rightsholder in the world, Warner Music Group (WMG) runs its global operation from headquarters based in Manhattan, New York.

The company’s frontline record label family includes Atlantic Records (home to Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Twenty One Pilots and many more), as well as Warner Records (Neil Young, NLE Choppa) and Elektra Music Group (Tones & I, Panic! At The Disco).

Warner Music Group is also home to the world’s third biggest music publishing company, Warner Chappell Music.

In May 2011, Warner Music Group was sold for $3.3 billion to its current owner Access Industries, controlled by billionaire Len Blavatnik.

In June 2020, Warner Music Group floated a portion of its company on a stock exchange, via an IPO on the NASDAQ.

In March 2021, Warner Music Group acquired prominent Russian indie label Zhara Music, co-founded by artists and businessmen EMIN and Bahh Tee. As a result of the deal, the label was rebranded as Atlantic Records Russia.

Warner Music Group is the latest entertainment company to pause operations in Russia, amidst the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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Live Nation announced that it will not be doing business in/with Russia, while Netflix has pulled its serviceand TikTok has also scaled back its platform in the country.

Additionally, earlier this week, the UK collection society PRS for Music, which represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters/composers and music publishers around the world, revealed that it has “formally suspended, with immediate effect,” its rights representation agreement with its Russia-based counterpart, the Russian Authors’ Society RAO.

US-based collection society BMI – which has long held an international reciprocal agreement with PRS – also issued its own statement regarding its relationship with Russia’s RAO: “BMI has suspended its copyright representation payments to RAO, the Russian collection society for musical works.

Added BMI: “Additionally, we are working with CISAC on a broader effort that will help benefit creators in the Ukraine and surrounding areas, while also providing humanitarian aid to those who are so desperately in need.”

The Italian Society of authors and composers, SIAE, also decided to stop payments to RAO last week.Music Business Worldwide

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