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Ukrainian record label cuts ties with French music giant over Russia

The French music distribution group has been accused of keeping its business in Russia despite claiming the opposite

Mozgi Entertainment, a major Ukrainian record label, has said it’s cut off all ties with the French music distribution group Believe SAS, as it has allegedly continued its operations in Russia amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

The Ukrainian label’s co-founder, Irina Gorova, initially announced the move two months ago but said that the legal break-up would take time since Mozgi’s catalogue at Believe included more than 2,000 songs.

Gorova said that her label was “one of the first to stop distributing and monetizing our music in Russia” after the start of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine. She also accused Believe of failing to “pull out … from the enemy market.” Apart from Mozgi Entertainment, Believe works with dozens of Ukrainian companies, according to local media.

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Believe SAS is one of France’s largest tech companies, which particularly promotes artists and labels on social media and places their music on streaming platforms. It worked with La Roux, Razorlight and Björk, among others. It also cooperates with around a dozen Russian labels.

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A view of the Universal Music Group headquarters on February 9, 2021, Santa Monica, California, US
World’s largest music corp. closes shop in Russia

On Sunday, the Daily Telegraph reported that the company, which is active in some 50 countries, has continued its work in Russia despite claiming it had suspended all operations there back in March. The company continued to market its services, offered an unnamed Russian label $3.18 million for its new releases and back catalogue, and continued to distribute music in Russia, the media outlet said, citing some documents it had obtained. Believe also has an active deal with SberZvuk, a streaming service previously owned Sberbank – Russia’s largest public lender – the UK paper added.

Earlier, a petition was launched in Ukraine calling on President Vladimir Zelensky to investigate Believe’s activities and accusing the French company of “literally sponsoring the war against Ukraine” and of being “a threat to national security.”

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Believe itself maintains that it has complied with all relevant laws and regulations. Its spokesman also said that, “faithfully to its values, Believe has pledged for peace and made the choice to continue to operate with its local artists, labels and partners in Russia and Ukraine.”

December 26, 2022 at 02:46AM
RT

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