Spotify has discontinued sponsorship of two French music festivals, just days after calling France’s planned “streaming tax” a “monumental strategic error.”

Regional media reported on the abrupt termination of the streaming platform’s involvement with the festivals Printemps de Bourges (planned for April) and Francofolies de La Rochelle (due to begin in July).

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Antoine Monin, Spotify’s managing director for France and Benelux, stated during a radio discussion that the upcoming music-specific streaming tax would “no longer be a priority for” his company if the government implemented the fee.

However, according to French media, this is exactly what is happening. The streaming tax, which is set to go into force in 2024, is claimed to be intended to fund the nearly four-year-old National Music Center.

According to Euronews, the Ministry of Culture has agreed on a 1.2 percent levy for the SACEM-backed fee, which would apparently apply to domestic revenue from ad-supported users and subscriptions alike.

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In addition to emphasizing their opposition to the tax (and, by extension, its significant long-term implications, chief among them the possibility of an increase down the line), Spotify and other streaming platforms that will be forced to pay the money have expressed a preference for a voluntary-contribution system to fund the National Music Center. Furthermore, Spotify advocated for the fee to be applied to radio stations, physical music purchases, and other areas.

Spotify is ramping up the fire ahead of the new year, despite the fact that government officials appear to be on a different page.
According to a French-language announcement from the service, the aforementioned withdrawals will have an impact on the financial side of the aforementioned pacts as well as the on-site artist “activations” that were previously scheduled.

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For reference, a number of the festivals’ YouTube videos include the Spotify logo, and as of this writing, both events’ websites still included links to Spotify playlists featuring the music of participating bands. One of these playlists features songs by singers who have been confirmed for the Francofolies de La Rochelle 2024.

According to the same translated remarks, Spotify has linked the move to the “implementation of a tax on music streaming in France” – further indicating that “other announcements will follow in 2024.”

Needless to say, keep an eye out for these “other announcements” in the coming weeks and months. Previously, Antoine Monin stated that Spotify may pass the cost on to French members (who presently pay €10.99 per month) via a subscription price increase.


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