Spotify Cuts Ties With Multiple French Music Festivals As ‘Streaming Tax’ Moves Forward

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france streaming tax
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Francofolies de La Rochelle, one of the French music festivals with which Spotify has cut ties owing to a new ‘streaming tax’. Photo Credit: Francofolies de La Rochelle

Days after criticizing France’s planned “streaming tax” as “a monumental strategic error,” Spotify has ceased sponsoring two French music festivals.

Regional outlets shed light upon the abrupt end of the streaming platform’s involvement with the festivals, Printemps de Bourges (scheduled for this coming April) and Francofolies de La Rochelle (set to kick off in July).

Besides issuing the above-highlighted criticism of the forthcoming music-specific streaming tax during a radio discussion, Antoine Monin, Spotify’s managing director for France and Benelux, spelled out that the market at hand would “no longer be a priority for” his company should the government move forward with the fee.

But according once again to French media, that’s precisely what’s happening. Scheduled to go into effect in 2024, the streaming tax is said to be designed to fund the nearly four-year-old National Music Center.

As described by Euronews, the Ministry of Culture has settled on a rate of 1.2 percent (a bit lower than that proposed in the first report behind the charge) for the SACEM-backed fee, which will reportedly extend to domestic revenue from ad-supported users and subscriptions alike.

Spotify and other streaming platforms that will be compelled to cough up the cash, in addition to emphasizing their opposition to the tax (and, in turn, its significant long-term implications, chief among them the possibility of an increase down the line), have voiced a preference for a voluntary-contribution system to bankroll the National Music Center. Plus, Spotify pushed to apply the tax to radio stations, physical-music sales, and more.

Now, with government officials evidently on a different page, Spotify is turning up the heat ahead of the new year.

As made clear by the service in a French-language statement, the aforesaid withdrawals will affect the financial side of the mentioned pacts as well as the on-site artist “activations” that had been organized in years past.

For reference, a number of the festivals’ YouTube videos feature Spotify’s logo, and at the time of this writing, both events’ websites still included links to Spotify playlists comprised of participating acts’ music. One of these playlists plugs tracks from performers who are booked for Francofolies de La Rochelle 2024.

Per the same translated remarks, Spotify has rather directly attributed the move to the “implementation of a tax on music streaming in France” – also indicating that “other announcements will follow in 2024.”

Needless to say, it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for these “other announcements” in the approaching weeks and months. Previously, Antoine Monin relayed that Spotify could well pass the expense on to subscribers in France (who currently pay €10.99 per month) via a subscription-price bump.