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Spotify pulls out of French festivals over tax row

The streaming giant says it will no longer financially support France's Francofolies de La Rochelle and Printemps de Bourges

By James Hanley on 21 Dec 2023

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek


Spotify has announced it is withdrawing its financial support from two French festivals in response to a new tax imposed on streaming services in the country.

The so-called “streaming tax”, which comes into effect in 2024, was announced by president Emmanuel Macron’s government following “several months of consultation”, and will require subscription streaming platforms to make a contribution of 1.2% of their turnover in France.

The tax will directly finance France’s National Music Center (CNM), which was created in 2020 to support the wider music industry. Platforms that turnover less than €20 million a year will be exempt.

As a result of the proposal, Spotify says it will no longer support the Francofolies de La Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges festivals from next year onwards.

“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, from 2024, financially and through activations on the ground,” says Spotify France MD Antoine Monin on X.

The CNM is currently funded by a 3.5% levy on ticket sales for shows, a contribution from the state to cover operating costs, and support from rights management organisations.

Monin says the Swedish streaming giant, which campaigned for a voluntary contribution instead of the tax, will focus its attention on emerging artist initiatives the Chantier and the iNOUïs, adding: “Other announcements will follow in 2024.”

“France does not encourage innovation and investment”

The announcement of the streaming tax, which is intended to generate €15 million next year, was welcomed by groups including French live association Prodiss, whose director Malika Séguineau described it as “the only device which allows the CNM to be provided with sustainable and balanced financing”.

“We are delighted that the government has taken this decision, supported by deputies and senators,” added Séguineau. “After long months of consultation and discussions, we must now look to the future, with a fully operational CNM from 2024 serving the ambition for the music industry.”

However, the move was criticised in a joint statement by giants Apple, Deezer, Meta, Spotify, YouTube and TikTok, which claimed they had reached an agreement to raise a voluntary contribution of more than €14m in 2025.

A Spotify spokesperson slammed the proposed tax as an “inequitable, unjust and disproportionate measure”, with Monin warning the firm would “disinvest in France and will invest in other markets”.

“France does not encourage innovation and investment,” he told Franceinfo. “France will no longer be a priority for Spotify.”

France is the world’s sixth largest recorded music market according to the IFPI, generating €920m in recorded music revenue in 2022.

 


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