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Deezer Stock Down Amid France Tax, SiriusXM Shares Up Despite Lawsuit – Billboard

Deezer shares fell 6.4% this week after France’s National Assembly approved a 1.2% tax on streaming revenue on Tuesday (Dec. 19). The new tax, which is meant to support local cultural programs, taxes effect in January and will be owed on top of existing tax obligations.

Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira called the tax “the worst possible outcome of all the different scenarios” the company faced from the French government. “Adding taxes is the worst way of trying to support the industry,” he told Billboard. France is Deezer’s home and largest market, accounting for roughly 60% of its revenue in the first nine months of 2023, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

Spotify immediately pulled sponsorship support for two local music festivals to help offset the additional tax burden. France is not as important to Spotify as to Deezer, however, and the new tax was probably not a factor in the 1.3% decline in Spotify’s share price this week. Spotify would be far more affected if other countries followed France’s lead — a possibility raised by Deezer’s Folgueira. “It sets a very dangerous precedent for other markets,” he warned.

SiriusXM investors were unfazed by the news that the New York attorney general’s office had sued the company for allegedly making customers go through a “burdensome” cancellation process. The satellite radio company’s stock finished the week up 1.3% to $5.47 despite a lawsuit that alleges SiriusXM “deliberately wastes its subscribers’ time even though it has the ability to process cancellations with the click of a button.” The company said it will “vigorously defend against these baseless allegations” that “grossly mischaracterize” its practices.

The Billboard Global Music Index fell 0.3% to 1,517.98, lowering its year-to-date gain to 30.0%. Nine of the index’s 20 stocks posted gains this week; 11 stocks ended the week in negative territory. 

Shares of streaming company LiveOne gained 10% to $2.21 after the company on Tuesday (Dec. 19) raised its guidance for revenue for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2024, to a range of $118 million to $120 million, up from $105 million to $110 million. The company also said that it’s finalizing a restructuring of its merchandising business, first announced on Dec. 14, that will reduce headcount by 75 to 100 staffers and result in $5 million to $10 million of cost savings.

Three other companies in the Billboard Global Music Index posted gains of 5% or more this week. Sphere Entertainment Co. rose 5.4% to $34.32. Warner Music Group improved 5.1% to $35.29. And K-pop company SM Entertainment gained 5% to 90,100 won ($69.32).

Major indexes fared better than music stocks as investors reacted positively to Friday’s announcement by the Federal Reserve that U.S. prices rose less than expected in November. In the United States, the Nasdaq composite gained 1.2% to 14,992.97 and the S&P 500 improved 0.8% to 4,754.63. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 rose 1.6% to 7,697.51, while South Korea’s KOSPI composite index climbed 1.4% to 2,599.51.

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