After Spotify said it would begin to phase out service in Uruguay on Jan. 1, 2024, the streamer reversed course on Tuesday (Dec. 12). “We can say with great confidence, they transmitted it to us today: Spotify is going to continue operating in Uruguay for the benefit of all users,” Secretary of the Presidency Álvaro Delgado said in a press conference, according to El Observador.
The origin of the dispute: Uruguay’s parliament passed a bill in November that changed the country’s copyright laws and demanded “equitable remuneration” for artists. Spotify objected to the lack of “clarity” in the new bill’s language because it was unclear where that additional “remuneration” would come from. “Changes that could force Spotify to pay twice for the same music would make our business of connecting artists and fans unsustainable,” a Spotify spokesperson warned, “and regrettably leaves us no choice but to stop being available in Uruguay.”
However, as El Observador reported on Tuesday (Dec. 12), Delgado told the press that “after several days of exchange and interaction, especially with legal aspects, the President of the Republic, the Minister of Education and Culture and the Minister of Industry” have come together to “make it clear that there will be no double payment by the platforms.”
Spotify welcomed the news. “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 said in a statement.
“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,” the spokesperson continued. “We thank President Lacalle Pou and his team for recognizing the value Spotify provides to local artists, songwriters and fans.”
It has been a tumultuous month for Spotify: Earlier in December, the company announced it was cutting around 1,500 employees in an effort to close “the gap between our financial goal state and our current operational costs,” as CEO Daniel Ek wrote to staff. This marked Spotify’s third round of layoffs in 2023.
Ek acknowledged that a “reduction of this size will feel surprisingly large given the recent positive earnings report and our performance.” But he added he was “convinced this is the right action.”
A few days later, Spotify announced that CFO Paul Vogel would leave the company at the end of March.