Beautiful European country vows to ‘play less English music’ in hotels | World | News

Holidaymakers heading to Greece may soon notice a change of tune in local radios, hotel lobbies and airport lounges if the centre-right Greek government has its way.

Politicians in the Mediterranean country that in 2023 welcomed 32.7 million tourists drafted a bill that, if enshrined in law, would impose a minimum quota of Greek music to be played in certain environments.

The measure requires that more than 45 percent of all the music played by local radio and in public spaces such as hotel lobbies, casinos and shopping centres is Greek.

Local radio stations would be granted more time to air commercials in exchange for this Greek music takeover.

Defending the bill, Greece‘s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said: “In a globalised environment, English-language music has almost been imposed on us.”

She added: “The spread of Greek-language music is limited. Statistics show that Greek music amounts to 30 percent of what is heard; 70 percent is foreign music. We have a duty, under the constitution, to protect art.”

The drafted legislation, already put to public consultation, also wants to ensure the “diffusion of Greek language” and would demand state-funded films and audiovisual content to include at least 70 percent of Greek music.

While the measure being pushed by the Culture Ministry is likely delighting singers, lyricists and composers working with the Greek language, the bill has already prompted fury from people across several industries. 

The Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers warned “enterprises would prefer to remove music from common areas altogether” than abide by a similar legislation, the Observer reported.

Kyriaki Malama, the shadow culture minister and a former film and theatre director, accused the government of drafting this bill “with great sloppiness” and risked harming people part of the industry – including young Greek artists who mainly write in English to appeal to a wider audience, composers of mostly orchestral pieces.

Still, the bill has its supporters, who are arguing that at a time of prolific digital music streaming services and huge music rights, the bill could have a positive impact. 

And Louka Katseli, director general of Edem, which protects the music rights of authors and composers, the bill is advocating for something already happening in other countries, including France.

She told the Observer: “The bottom line is that unless you protect Grecophone repertoire and national music creators, they’ll become endangered.” The expert, a former economy minister, added this music may not exist in a decade because of globalisation and the fact that international platform tend to push English-language repertoires.

Nevertheless, aware of the criticism the bill has gathered, Ms Mendoni said comments against the measure will be taken into account upon shaping the “final plan”. 

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