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French levy music streaming tax

December 1, 2023

By Chris Forrester

The French Senate is discussing a streaming music tax. The proposal, if adopted, will be made through amendments to the Finance Bill (PLF) 2024, the principle of taxing music streaming platforms.

The tax contribution will fund the National Music Centre (NJC). Currently, the organisation receives government support and a ticket tax for live performances.

The new rules “targets all platforms, paid for as free, pure players as social networks”, detailed in a communique the players in the music industry from the recorded music and live entertainment sectors (Camulc, Felin, Prodiss, SMA, SPPF, Upfi), who welcomed the Senate vote. According to these above unions, the streaming tax will allow “an adequate and dynamic return, as well as an architecture based on the turnover levels of the players concerned, which will guarantee respect for the sector’s economic balance”.

Created in 2020, the CNM, like the CNC for cinema, is intended to support and accompany the French music industry. On June 21st last, Music Day,

Emmanuel Macron had raised the prospect of a tax on streaming revenues if the music channel did not agree on new funding streams for the NJC.

The six music organisations “solemnly called on the government to keep this arrangement in the draft Finance Bill for 2024.” But, at this stage, nothing has yet been done. Debates in the Senate will take place until December 12th. Then the text will go back to the National Assembly. The government may then decide to validate this tax.

Investment bank BNPP, in a note to clients, said there is no direct read-across to France’s telcos from this (music streaming being largely irrelevant for telcos’ business models) but the telcos have had a similar debate on ‘fair share’ and this shows that in an adjacent industry a fair share payment mechanism may be introduced. Indeed, the bank says: “France’s music streaming proposal could be a model for other countries to follow at a national level. We would in particular expect that France would be the most supportive country of introducing a fair share payment of some sort given the idea has been pushed by France’s EC commissioner Thierry Breton.”

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