Spotify has announced its decision to withdraw support for two prominent music festivals in France as a protest against a controversial new tax targeting music-streaming platforms. The tax, aimed at funding the Centre National de la Musique (CNM) and supporting the French music sector, will impose a levy of approximately 1.5 to 1.75% on all music-streaming services operating in France.
While other major players in the industry, such as Apple, Google’s YouTube, and local platform Deezer, have also expressed their opposition to the new law, Spotify has been particularly vocal. The company stated that the tax is a detrimental blow to innovation and has been evaluating its response.
Antoine Monin, the managing director for Spotify in France and Benelux, revealed the first steps in their plan. Starting from 2024, Spotify will no longer provide financial support or other resources to the Francofolies de la Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges festivals, which it had previously backed. Monin hinted that further actions would follow in 2024, without specifying their nature.
While Spotify recently engaged in a dispute with the Uruguayan government over a similar law, the situation in France presents unique challenges. With France being a significant market for Spotify, completely withdrawing from the country is not a feasible option. Instead, the company intends to disinvest in France and redirect its resources to other markets.
Monin emphasized that Spotify has the means to handle the imposed tax but criticized France for lacking an environment that fosters innovation and investment. Consequently, Spotify aims to reallocate its efforts to more welcoming markets.
As the music-streaming giant takes this stand against the new tax, the French music industry and government will undoubtedly feel the impact. The outcome of this conflict may shape the future landscape of music streaming in France and beyond.