Spotify to increase subscription price in France to counter new music-streaming tax

Spotify has revealed plans to increase subscription fees in France, in response to a planned new tax directed at all music-streaming services operating in the country.

The move comes nearly three months after the company vowed to begin disinvesting in France, initially pulling support from two festivals with the promise of more action to come this year. Now we have a clearer idea of what kind of “action” Spotify has been cooking up, with its lobbying efforts now cranking into overdrive as it looks to make lawmakers reverse course.

The proposed tax will see a levy of between 1.5 and 1.75% imposed on Spotify and rival services including Deezer, Apple Music, and Google’s YouTube Music, with proceeds redirected to the Centre National de la Musique (CNM), established four years ago to support the French music sector. While all these respective companies are opposing the new law, Spotify has been the most vociferous, largely due to the fact it is the biggest player in the country.

Spotify hasn’t revealed how much it’s increasing the prices by — it merely said that moving forward, French users will be paying the highest subscription fees in the entire European Union (EU). Indeed, the company plans to inform subscribers “over the coming weeks” in terms of how much extra they’ll be paying — but it seems that part of the plan here is to try and drum up enough consumer consternation to try and make the powers-that-be scrap their plans for the tax.

A spokesperson Spotify told TechCrunch that it was just trying “to be transparent with our users” that they should expect a price hike, and that it had done “everything we could” to avoid this but there was no way around it.

What’s perhaps the most telling of this whole episode is how important France is to Spotify in terms of market traction.