Universal Music Group Shuts Down Its Russian Offices

Universal Music Group and Ukraine

The music company responsible for Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna states it will adhere to international sanctions against the Russians.

Universal Music Group, home to Def Jam, Motown, Interscope Records, and the world’s leading music company, has suspended all of its Russian operations in light of the Eurasian nation’s military invasion of Ukraine.

The company that puts out music for artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, DaBaby, Lil’ Wayne, Will Smith, and more confirmed that the business would be “adhering to international sanctions” and stop working with its Russian affiliates.

“Effective immediately, we are suspending all operations in Russia and closing our offices there. We urge an end to the violence in Ukraine as soon as possible. We are adhering to international sanctions and, along with our employees and artists, have been working with groups from a range of countries (including the U.S., U.K., Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary) to support humanitarian relief efforts to bring urgent aid to refugees in the region.”

Variety magazine reports that a source told them that this freeze would impact artists in the country, presumably halting recording budgets and sessions. It is also alleged that staffers will continue to get paid for “an undetermined time.”

UMG is not the only major music entertainment jumping out with a clear statement against Russia’s violence and violation of humanitarian treaties. 

So has the publishing house, BMI.

BMI stated, “BMI has suspended its copyright representation payments to RAO, the Russian collection society for musical works. Additionally, we are working with CISAC on a broader effort that will help benefit creators in Ukraine and surrounding areas while also providing humanitarian aid to those who are so desperately in need.”

As reported by AllHipHop.com, several artists signed to UMG have spoken out in outrage or in horror about the atrocities in Ukraine.

Nicki Minaj tweeted this regarding “children screaming” as they maneuver through their war-torn company with their parents.

“Saw footage of bombs dropping & in the background u could hear children screaming. When I tell u it broke my heart into pieces? …To every mother fleeing w|your children, saying goodbye 2 your husband,” she wrote. “I can’t imagine how afraid & alone you must feel.”

Young Thug has started to rally other artists to help Africans being discriminated against by law enforcement, stopping them from reaching safe shelter in neighboring countries like Poland.

After seeing the above video of Black people being stopped from boarding trains, he posted on his Instagram story last week, “If some of my rap brothers are in, I’m willing to help Africans get out of Ukraine. However, I can sense [they’re] not letting us pass. Whoever holds the info for these movements, please contact me ASAP. I’m ready.”

President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s leader, ordered troops to storm into Ukraine on February 24th.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified that since the top of the year and as late as Tuesday, March 8th, a total of 516 civilians have been killed during Russia’s military attack. 

Thirty-seven children are dead, and 908 civilians have been injured, including 50 minors.