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Spotify stands firm against French tax law with withdrawal from two music festivals

Featured Image: Tim Toomey on Unsplash

Spotify has pulled out of two music festivals in France after the country introduced a higher tax measure for streaming services.

The Stockholm-based company confirmed that it would no longer offer investment to Les Francofolies de la Rochelle in July and Le Printemps de Bourges in April this year.

The new law sees music streaming platforms taxed 1.2% of their domestic revenue in a bid to support local music.

The money that comes from the tax will be used to provide funding for France’s Centre National de la Musique.

“Following the announcement of the implementation of a tax on music streaming in France, we regret to announce that Spotify France will stop supporting the Francofolies de la Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges financially from 2024,” Spotify’s head of music in France Antoine Monin wrote on social media.

The French Ministry of Culture stated that platforms with a turnover of less than €20 million (£17 million/$21 million) would be exempt.

Spotify attempted to reason with the French Government and proposed to pay a voluntary contribution instead, but it was firmly rejected.

Apple, Deezer, Meta, YouTube, and TikTok also came together with Spotify to protest the plans.

Monin also described the tax as “monumental strategic error” but claimed that his employers would “be able to absorb” it and retaliate by dis-investing in France and reinforcing its status in other markets.

“France does not encourage innovation and investment,” he said.

It is the latest example of Spotify clashing with governments after threatening to shut down in Uruguay on January 1 this year.

A new bill was proposed that would introduce “equitable remunerations” for musicians but did not clarify whether it applied to streaming services and if the increased royalties for artists would come out of its pocket.

Uruguay’s President Luis Lacalle Pou stepped in to affirm that it would not impact Spotify negatively following a petition in the country that was signed by more than 37,000 people.