Radios consider ineffective increase in share of Portuguese music

Two radio groups express "solidarity and concern with the current economic conditions that affect authors, composers and artists", but underline that the measures "will not solve such problems, but will aggravate the already very difficult situation of Portuguese radio stations".

The groups Renascença Multimédia and Media Capital Rádios sent an open letter to the Minister of Culture considering the increase to 30% in the share of the diffusion of Portuguese music, an “ineffective, unfair” measure, which does not solve the artists' problem.

The increase from 25% to 30% of the share of Portuguese music on the radio was announced on Thursday by the Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, within the scope of the pandemic response measures, with the objective of “increasing the dissemination of Portuguese music ”and“ its appreciation for the benefit of authors, artists and producers ”.

Graça Fonseca recalled, at the time, that the quota had remained unchanged since the beginning of its application, when its tutelage was scheduled for its annual review. The 2006 Radio Law provides for a share of Portuguese music, between 25 and 40%, for generalist channels.

In the letter to the minister, today, the two radio groups express “solidarity and concern for the current economic conditions that affect authors, composers and artists”, but underline that the measures “will not solve such problems, but will aggravate the already very difficult situation. Portuguese radio stations ”.

The groups Renascença Multimédia and Media Capital refer that Graça Fonseca said that she had spoken with the radio about the increase in the share of the diffusion of Portuguese music, but omitted that the measure did not obtain their agreement.

It was an “imposed” measure, they stress, adding that they had met with Secretary of State Nuno Artur Silva, to whom they suggested other measures that would be more beneficial for artists.

The two groups understand that the increase to 30% of the share of the dissemination of Portuguese music will only bring “tiny” gains for Portuguese artists.

“The way of imposing quotas is anachronistic. Imposing music quotas on the radio is a political measure of the last century that does not take into account the digital world of international music platforms, free of quotas and impositions that limit your freedom to program ”, they stress.

They add that, in November 2020, the radio sector lost almost 30% of its advertising revenue and that, in April and May last year, the loss reached 70%, numbers that - they stress - “they would not like to see repeated now ”.

Considering the measure announced by Graça Fonseca “ineffective and unfair”, the two groups are available to dialogue “with whomever is necessary, in an effectively constructive and consequent dialogue that intends to unite and not divide, even artificially, the agents of culture” , they conclude.

On Friday, the Portuguese Broadcasting Association (APR) and the Christian Inspired Radio Association (ARIC) also spoke out against the measure, citing its ineffectiveness, lack of dialogue, alerting international music platforms and criticizing the lack of government support for the media, and radio in particular.

On the same day, the Portuguese Phonographic Association (AFP) and the Association for the Management and Distribution of Rights (Audiogest) spoke in the opposite direction, with satisfaction in the face of a decision that they consider “a positive and important step for the music sector” .

AFP's management considered the measure a step “taken in the right direction and that, over 14 years, had not yet been taken”.

“The growing interest of the Portuguese in the music of national artists and authors is evident, so it makes perfect sense, especially at a time of deep crisis (…), for the radio to intensify the use of 'our' music. We can only regret that the radio operators did not do it voluntarily ”, he added.

The direction of Audiogest, said that "this measure will also have a direct positive impact on the distribution of rights to national music producers, (...) which will inevitably suffer a huge drop resulting directly from the closure and decrease in economic activities".

"Every time a radio (...) uses foreign music, the economic effect is equivalent to an import," said the association.

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