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As an Englishman living in Poland, composing songs in English, it is natural that I would prefer not to be subjected to such a quota system – however, when looking at the new system objectively, I cannot really see any purpose, nor logic whatsoever in it’s introduction. An argument I’ve heard in favour of the new quota is that it will enable Polish music to develop, be heard and thus gain popularity and strength. This is a misnomer as people will simply continue to do what they are already doing - turning off their TVs and radios and looking for interesting new music online. Additionally and perhaps most importantly, those still listening, will be subjected to songs that – to be perfectly honest - are not as well produced as their western counterparts in the majority of cases. These songs will thus gain airplay not on merit but based entirely on their being sung in Polish. If these new measures are intended to promote modern Polish culture, surely it would be a better idea for the government to insist on 50% of the songs on radios being from the 21st Century rather than endless airings of “Takie Tango” or “Kolorowe Jarmarki” (dubious Polish ‘classics’).
I think there is a strong argument to suggest that this “cultural protectionism” poses more harm than good to the development of Polish music. Producers, composers and musicians should strive to have their songs listened to on merit rather than by eliminating the competition. I also have my suspicions that the new measures are not being introduced to protect national culture, but rather as a populist measure to both appease the rabid nationalists and acquiesce the musicians who two years ago saw 23% of their concert earnings disappearing into VAT when previously it had been tax free. Maybe playing the patriotism card with the new “Play Polish” quota will make members of the old guard in Poland happy, but I’d hoped that the days of radios being told what to play and when had passed, sadly I was wrong.