Spotify to Continue Service in Uruguay After Clarifications on Bill Requiring Fair Pay for Artists

Last month, the streaming giant announced it would be ceasing service in the market following a copyright law amendment

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Dec 13, 2023

With the advent of changes to federal copyright law, Spotify is planning on ceasing service to the market in Uruguay.

The streaming giant will begin to phase out its service in the South American nation on January 1, 2024, with all operations ending in February, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the company [via Music Business Worldwide].

UPDATE (12/13, 6:57 a.m. PT): Following clarifications to the copyright bill, Spotify will continue service in Uruguay.

"The Uruguayan government has issued much-needed clarification of the recent music copyright law changes, specifically that rightsholders are responsible for ensuring artists are fairly paid, rather than requiring Spotify to pay multiple times for the same content," a spokesperson for the streaming giant said in a statement.

It continued, "Spotify already pays ~70 percent of every dollar it generates from music to rightsholders (record labels and publishers). We are pleased that this clarification will allow Spotify to remain available in Uruguay so that we can continue giving artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it. We thank President Lacalle Pou and his team for recognizing the value Spotify provides to local artists, songwriters and fans."

Spotify initially threatened to pull out back in July when the "Rendición de Cuentas" bill — brought forth by the Uruguayan Society of Performers (SUDEI) — was first tabled, arguing in a letter to the Minister of Education and Culture, Pablo Da Silveira, that the proposed law implied "an additional mandatory payment for music services." 

A spokesperson for the streaming service wrote in November, "If the proposed reform became law in its current form, Spotify's business in Uruguay could become unfeasible, to the detriment of Uruguayan music and its fans," alleging that Rendiciòn de Cuentas would force them to "pay twice" the amount of royalties to artists.

The amendment to Articles 284 and 285 of the country's copyright law was approved by Uruguayan Parliament last month, the former adding "social networks and the internet as formats for which, if a song is reproduced, the performer is entitled to financial remuneration."

Meanwhile, the latter article's amendment protects the "right to a fair and equitable remuneration" for all "agreements entered into by authors, composers, performers, directors and screenwriters with respect to their faculty of public communication and making available to the public phonograms and audiovisual recordings."

In last month's statement announcing the planned end to its service, Spotify cited the lack of clarity surrounding the changes the bill would bring about as the streamer's reason for ceasing to exist in the Uruguayan market, appearing to want confirmation on whether "any additional costs are the responsibility of rights holders" or if streaming platforms would be on the hook.

November also saw the streaming service officially unveil its new royalty policy, reiterating the argument that demonetizing tracks with less than 1,000 streams annually will actually benefit artists.

Latest Coverage