The Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) has pulled out its music recordings from the Russian Federation.
This is in protest at the invasion of the Ukraine, and the accompanying unnecessary deaths, trauma and forthcoming massive refugee problem.
It has also issued a challenge to the rest of the Australian music industry to follow suit.
ARCA has notified the distributor of its in-house record label Black Box Records to withdraw from sale, download or streaming its entire catalogue of artists recordings.
This includes all such distribution by Yandex, Spotify, Apple iTunes, S.a.r.l., vKontakte (VK), Sberbank, Boom, YouTube Music, Google Play Music and others.
ARCA co-founder Ian Peel commented: “The ARCA crews are family.
“We celebrate our freedoms and what we’ve fought hard to achieve.
“Although we in no way know how much real suffering is going on in the Ukraine, we feel for its people and want to make a stand.
“We roadies don’t cop abuse; we don’t tolerate it on a local or national level.”
ARCA’s successful Desk Tape Series – live tapes made at gigs by their sound engineer directly from the sound desk – has globally released 22 live tapes from major acts.
These have included Crowded House, Australian Crawl, Neil Finn, Men At Work, Models, Tim Finn & The Escapade Band, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Redgum, Russell Morris & The Rubes, Jimmy and The Boys, Captain Matchbox TMG, The Party Boys, Dutch Tilders, V. Spy V. Spy, Dave Tice and The Headhunters, Wendy Mathews, TISM, Doug Parkinson & The Southern Star Band, and US-based guitarists Vince Gill and Albert Lee.
More major artists have come on board to green-light releases throughout 2022 and 2023.
So far these tapes have raised north of $70,000 for Support Act’s Roadies Fund.
These are used to provide financial, health, mental health, counselling, legal advice and documentation, medical appointments, and inevitably, funeral costs for roadies and crew in crisis, now and into the future.
Australian Crawl’s Bill McDonough says, “Much more can be done to support the Ukrainian people. The world entertainment industry can make a stand and withdraw ALL copyrights to the Russian Federation immediately. Although it denies the Russian audience, many who may not support what has happened, it will send a message to as to how most other countries see the terrible invasion of the Ukraine by their leader Mr Putin, an act of war on the continent not seen since the invasion of Poland over half a century ago.”
ARCA’s sanctions will make a significant comment given the major numbers for some of its streaming players.
Yandex is Russia’s largest tech company – its services are akin to Google, eBay and Uber rolled into a single company – and Yandex Music has 20 million users and 3.3 million premium subscribers.
VK, “Russia’s Facebook”, has over 500 million accounts worldwide.
SberZvuk is a loyalty program run by one of Russia’s largest banks.
Spotify had 320 million Russian active users and 144 million subscribers, as of October 2021.
Russia is Apple Music’s fifth largest market.
With such figures at stake, ARCA calls on all Australian artists, labels and publishers to also withdraw supply, licenses or other arrangements with the Russian Federation.
This includes from The National Music Publishing LLC, Sony Music Entertainment Russia, Warner/Chappell Music Russia, Universal Music and Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd.
ARCA’s Ian Peel stated: “We don’t have weapons, but want to support the people of the Ukraine in any way possible, protest, help to survive, anything.
“We are all people trying to live a pure and free life on this planet. Stand with them!”
For list of Desk Tape Series recordings on Black Box, see https://australianroadcrew.com.au/the-desk-tape-series/.