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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsCultureBill on Greek Music Quotas in Hotels, Radio, Films Causes Uproar

Bill on Greek Music Quotas in Hotels, Radio, Films Causes Uproar

Greek music
Musicians playing traditional Greek music on Naxos Island, Greece. Credit: Apostolos Makris /GreekReporter

The Greek Ministry of Culture wants to impose quotas of Greek music in the common areas of hotels, malls, casinos, airports, and ports, according to a bill that will be voted upon in Parliament.

“The bill of the Ministry of Culture gives additional incentives so that Greek-language songs can be heard more,” Minister Lina Mendoni said in an interview with Skai. “The bill will also support the Greek creators of music.”

“In a globalized environment, English-language music has almost been imposed,” the Minister claimed. “The spread of Greek-language music is limited. We, as the Ministry of Culture, have an obligation under the Constitution to protect art. The bill is a series of incentives and not something mandatory.”

The purpose of the initiative, according to the bill, is to “strengthen the framework for the protection and promotion of Greek-language music” and the “protection and diffusion of the Greek language.”

According to the bill, more than 45 percent of music played in common areas must be Greek. Mendoni clarified that the bill only refers to the music that the hotelier or the owner of the tourist accommodation wishes to play in the waiting areas and in the elevators.

“It is a very limited measure,” Mendoni said. “No one will interfere in the cafes, or the dining areas, or under any circumstances, in the rooms.”

The bill also provides for a five percent increase in advertising time for those radio stations that increase the transmission of Greek music by 20 percent, while it obliges films financed by the state to play 70 percent Greek-language music.

It states that Greek audiovisual and cinematographic films financed by the State “are obliged to incorporate Greek-language songs or an orchestral musical performance of a Greek-language song at a minimum rate of seventy percent (70 percent) of the total musical investment of the production or the film.”

In the bill under consultation until March 14th, fines from 2,000 to 20,000 euros will be imposed on those violating the relevant provisions.

Bill on Greek music causes controversy

The bill was met with outrage by the tourist industry.

“An unpleasant surprise is the regulations of the Culture Ministry is an unpleasant surprise. […] This is state interventionism that sets us back many years,” the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers said in a press release on Monday morning, threatening to use all Greek and European legal means.

In comments posted on social media, some claim that the bill’s aim is simply to increase the revenues of the company collecting fees for “Intellectual Property Organization.”

The above-mentioned organization responded positively to the bill that will benefit Greek composers and lyricists, performers and in general contributors to Greek-language songs.

Other social media users were more cynical:

“Mendoni will create the appropriate lists on Spotify” and some are expecting the Culture Minister to expand the measure to other sectors.

“Italian restaurants will be obliged to serve moussaka once per week, while Chinese ones will serve tzatziki as side dish.”

An internet user recalled that “the last Greek Culture Minister before Mendoni to enforce hotels to play specific music was Konstantinos Panagiotakis in 1972 [that is two years before the fall of the colonels’ dictatorship].”

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