© Christian Hartmann/Reuters

A proposed digital tax on music streaming in France has faced strong opposition from Spotify and other streaming platforms. Spotify’s Country Manager in France warned last year that such a tax could cause the company to scale back operations there. Now it appears that warning is coming to pass.

Spotify France recently announced it will no longer provide financial support or participate in activations for two major French music festivals – Les Francofolies de la Rochelle and Le Printemps de Bourges. Both events help emerging French artists gain exposure. In a social media post, the Spotify representative directly linked this decision to the newly approved streaming tax.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

This follows a pattern of Spotify leveraging its influence against legislation it disfavors. Last year, in Uruguay, the company threatened to pull out entirely until changes were made to an “equitable remuneration” law.

Cutting support for beloved French festivals is risky, as music fans and up-and-coming artists now miss out due to decisions beyond their control. While Spotify joins other digital platforms proposing an alternative funding model for France’s music development body, tensions remain high for now.

Artists and listeners find themselves caught in the middle of an ongoing policy dispute between the government and large corporations. Both sides will need to find a compromise to avoid further escalation that damages the French music scene and cultural events. Open dialogue and good faith efforts to reach an agreement seem most likely to yield a resolution pleasing all parties involved.

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