The very pretty, Instagram friendly graphics from 2023’s edition of Spotify Wrapped might have given the impression that all is well at the streaming site – but anyone taking a quick look under the bonnet will soon discover a few different problems. Such as the fact they’ve been haemorrhaging staff this year – with over 2000 people leaving the company in that time.
There’s also the fact they’re making a number of changes in the way they pay out streams next year – in short, anyone who got less than 1000 streams on a song in a 12-month period shouldn’t expect to get paid for it. Their defence of the new policy essentially amounted to ‘keep it in our bank account to make sure you don’t incur fees from your own’.
Rest assured, this is something that’s crossed the mind of Spotify’s owner Daniel Ek – and having no doubt enjoyed his Julbord on Christmas Eve, he’ll probably be happy to consign 2023 to the past. Unfortunately, things don’t look like they’re going to get any easier right now – and certainly not in the first half of next year.
Late last week, the company announced they were cancelling their involvement with Francofolies de La Rochelle and Printemps de Bourges. Why? It’s because of new tax rules being introduced by the French – a 1.2% levy on the income that streaming services make in the country.
Unsurprisingly, Spotify aren’t happy at the prospect – with a representative branding it as “a real blow to innovation”. The brains at Spotify might want to knuckle down in the New Year to try and find a better line – as the “innovation” line doesn’t exactly have a good history in Europe.
Just ask Apple. They used almost exactly the same words when they were taken to court by the European Union over their refusal to introduce USB-C charging ports to their devices. Apple subsequently lost that legal action and was forced to introduce them worldwide.
Of course, Spotify can’t do a Uruguay and simply leave the country on this occasion – France is a bigger country with more customers. And France knows it, hence why they’re pushing ahead with this decision – especially given the whole streaming industry doesn’t like it.
With no current sign of the French backing down over this, it remains a mystery what Daniel Ek’s next steps will be…