Two weeks back, reports indicated that Spotify was poised to exit Uruguay over a copyright law overhaul. Now, in the absence of a last-minute deal, the streaming platform has formally confirmed the departure, maintaining that it’s “being pushed out” of the South American nation.
Spotify publicly disclosed its intention to throw in the towel in Uruguay, population 3.5 million, this morning, after threatening to do so (and emphasizing adjacent concerns in letters to lawmakers and government officials) for several months.
Early October, for instance, saw the Stockholm-based service claim it would be “forced to pay twice” for songs under the legislative pivot. (In brief, said pivot has enabled rightsholders and creators to negotiate directly with internet platforms including Spotify for the use of their works.)
Nearly eight weeks later, Spotify doubled down on its opposition to the measure, which had received full-scale legislative approval in the interim, with a final entreaty to alter or nix the changes. Needless to say, given today’s news, lawmakers were on an entirely different page and, according to Spanish-language reports, instead encouraged the streaming giant to participate in related negotiations.
Enter the initially mentioned withdrawal announcement, which communicates off the bat that “Spotify will begin to phase out its service in Uruguay effective January 1, 2024, and fully cease service by February.”
As the Google-partnered platform sees it, “this bill could force Spotify to pay twice for the same songs,” with the text also calling on the Uruguayan government to make “it clear that record labels and publishers to whom we pay” approximately 70 percent of revenue should cough up for the new cost out of their own share.
“We want to continue giving artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it,” the message proceeds. “However, at this stage, Spotify has no choice but to stop being available in Uruguay.”
Notwithstanding Spotify’s Uruguay exit and far-from-positive assessment of the situation, AEPO-ARTIS reached out to Digital Music News with a message touting the legislation as “a win for the whole music industry.”
“Whenever there is a country somewhere in the world that adopts a legislation that improves the situation of performers, you know that it will not take long before stories about the end of diversity, the downfall of investment and the collapse of the entire music industry will pop up,” penned AEPO-ARTIS general secretary Ioan Kaes, specifically taking aim at critical remarks from WIN.
“Change is needed and it is legistlative interventions such as the one in Uruguay that put performers and their own CMOs in a position to enforce such change,” continued Kaes. “We ask our producers to stop spreading the message that paying performers will harm our industry.
“We are in this together. Instead of pointing at unspecified unintended consequences of the new Uruguayan law, let’s try to focus on the actual intentions of this legislation and work towards better remuneration of our performers.”