Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The essay: Nothing changes on New Year's Day?






If only...

...because on New Year's Day something happened in Poland. Something strange, though maybe not so shocking as it may seem at the first glance. Moreover, advocates of the change say that it's the element of the larger European tendency, so it was no reason for resistance anyway.
(I noticed that people (?) from 22 countries or so visited this blog so far. I believe that most of them were Poles from abroad or spambots, but, heck, why not promote this blog worldwide, at least from time to time? So, dear readers, please enjoy my thoughts on the state of Polish pop scene A.D. 2012 and get ready for the another entry that will be an attempt at the evaluation of Polish music festivals in the last years. Please excuse all the possible mistakes - I'm not a native speaker but I hope it's readable.)

Let's take a look at the recent amendments to the Section 3 (Radio and Television Programs) of the Radiophony and Television Act. The revised Article 15 states that 33% of the music played by every station (with few exclusions regarding ethnic minorities) each month must be sung in Polish. 60% of these songs must be played by day (5-24) - not incidentally, because for many years Polish broadcasters were explaining to the authorities that no one wants to listen to Polish music and accordingly they played it mostly by night. The time devoted to the songs of homegrown newcomers will be counted as the equivalent of two songs by an established act. In the words of the bill, the emerging artist is the one that issued its first single or longplay not earlier than 18 months before the radio promotion of the played song.

As you see, this definition of a debutant is rather liberal (probably featurings will be excluded from counting "the first single"). It's also up to debate if those 60% is really much. The impact of the new regulations will be also lessened by the fact that those figures are actually the goal for 2013 (in 2012 the authorities will be satisfied with the 40% participation of Polish songs). The other thing is that people are still less and less relying on radio while searching for a new music. Some need 'Marconi' for the news, some are pining for various lotteries and competitions, but, let's be honest, most of us need it not to fall asleep while performing various mundane chores. I mean especially the most popular mainstream stations.

But undoubtedly something WILL change - gradually, but steadily. Maybe I'm not the person best suited for musings on how the new law will transform Polish music scene, because I admit that I'm little biased. I have no doubt that these are talented musicans in Poland who deserve attention but personally I don't like lyrics in Polish. First, if I need profound thoughts in Polish, I read poetry or prose and there is a lot to choose from. When I listen to pop or rock, I prefer to focus on how good music is. Second, not every one in Poland is like Brodka - an accomplished musician and talented lyricist with natural flow. Polish in pop sounds mostly clumsy - schmaltzy, vulgar or just absurd. Some performers don't see it as a problem, but other Polish acts just sound more natural in English - Pati Yang, Sorry Boys, SuperXiu or Kamp!, to name a few. Bands from niche genres like death metal or neoprog generated many fans all over the world this way. I think that flow of English language is just suited for this type of music. For example, where English lyricist can put a compound verb, the Polish one must insert a tautology or repeat the word (in Polish you can't fall down, you just fall).

So the new regulations will be unfair for such acts, as well as for the authors of instrumentals (that's Polish music, too!) Will they compromise their integrity and record Polish versions? I doubt, especially as far as club music is concerned. Any Polish dance act who sings in Polish (with the notable exception of Reni Jusis) must counter the accusations of following in the footsteps of the much-maligned disco polo. It may surprise my Polish readers but I know that some of you, the English speakers, now ask themselves a question: will disco polo benefit from the future troubles of Polish house and cross over? My answer is: no, because no one would benefit from it. If disco polo stars polish their sound, they will lose fans and if radio promotes them, the broadcasters will lose face. Anyway, I don't know how much of a following disco polo has now. I know there is one cable TV dedicated to this genre and there is a show on the other popular satelite channel but I guess now it's rather regional thing and the object of mocking.

Anyway, I don't think that many people really care about Robert M. and the likes; especially not the authors of the amendments. Poland suffered from foreign occupation for centuries, so we developed a bit of obsession with our language as an instrument of culture preservation and the large chunk of the older generation thinks that it should express only the noblest ideas, not the carnal "oompah-oompah". The legend that goes "the Pope, the shipbuilders from TriCity and rock music freed us from communism" makes matters only worse. Maybe only few young people are aware that many Polish 80s rebels viewed their pop forebears as government darlings but rock and metal elitism in some circles is still unbereable.

So who would benefit? The alumni of various talent shows, for sure. But if they will satisfy themselves with sleepy ballads or rawk that doesn't rawk, I say: thank you very much, even if there was a bit of variety to this crop of singers (from retro to vaguely indie attutide to full-on alternative). Maybe still profilic Polish hip-hop will come back to the dance stations. I don't expect any alternative explosion. Knowing the rules of Polish radio programming, I expect more obvious things: something I call "American heatseeker rule" (treating new configurations of old faces as brand new acts), one-off projects of celebrities and recording songs that plagiarize the foreign hits that are not played because there is no time for it due to the new regulations. Sadly, Poland has got a long history of plagiarizing eveything: from Private Idaho and Lost for Words to Utopia and Closer to the Edge. Further proof? Beyonce fans, do you recognize this?



(Charles, if you read this, she sang with Mezo in Kryzys and with Kalwi & Remi, just like your beloved Alexandra :)

Or maybe nothing will change? Maybe stations will pay fines and play as little Polish music as before? Or just play the same hits we all love (or hate) but a little more often? Bono, damn, why do you always have to be right?!

As Muzykobloger rightly said: when we will wake up from the bad dream about the future, we will have to enjoy little things.
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Oczywiście można komentować po polsku :)

6 comments:

  1. Nie taka zła ta Jachowa, ale plagiat jest oczywisty no i tekst tradycyjnie koszmarny.

    Przeglądam playlistę Radia Wawa i doszedłem do oczywistego wniosku. Gdyby w radiach pojawił się: Dżem, stary Bajm, stara Budka Suflera, Sztywny Pal Azji, Breakout, Oddział Zamknięty, Manaam, Obywatel G.C, Chłopcy z Placu Broni, Kult to ja bym taką ustawę poparł. Niestety, nie ma na to żadnych szans... Promuje się słabą muzykę zagraniczną to polska też musi być przeciętna. Kilka lat temu fenomenem była Ania Dąbrowska, której muzyka potrafiła trafić do bardzo szerokiej grupy słuchaczy. Teraz niestety o Ance cicho. Stacje radiowe powinny się wstydzić, że nie grają Brodki. Mogę nie przepadać za "Grandą", ale jestem pewien, że to byłby znacznie większy hit niż te wszystkie Farny i Markowskie. Sprzedaż płyty mówi za siebie. Ale tu dochodzimy do istotnego problemu...

    Nie, nie ma tego problemu :O Byłem stuprocentowo przekonany, że Monika nagrała krążek w jakiejś niezależnej wytwórni. Nie, to było Sony :O Tym większa kompromitacje mediów...

    A skoro ruszyłeś Szpaka- szkoda, że najzdolniejsi wykonawcy mają pod górkę w polskich talent show :/

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  2. Nie wiem, czy nie ma na to szans - pożyjemy, zobaczymy, myślę, że akurat taki scenariusz, czyli "uwawowanie" innych stacji jest możliwy. Przecież wszystkie tak grały kilka lat temu. Np. w playliście Złotych Przebojów były "taniec w słońcu" Kombi czy "Nie pij Piotrek", Zetka grała np. "Kinga".

    Anka jest pewnie po prostu zajęta Voice of Poland, ale na pewno kiedyś wróci. W ogóle dzięki za komentarz, bo w ostatnim akapicie przed Jachową zapomniałem dopisać pół zdania :)

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  3. Ciekawie napisane:-) Temat jest poważny, ale jakoś mało się go porusza na prywatnych stronach typu blogi. Dobrze, że my, światli blogerzy, zabraliśmy głos w dyskusji (żeby nie powiedzieć, że ją sprowokowaliśmy)...:-)

    Jedna uwaga: od 1 I 2012 - 40%, od 1 I 2013 - 50%, dopiero od 1 I 2014 - 60%.

    Nawiasem mówiąc, na razie stacje typu RMF FM ratuje to, że polskiej muzyki mają grać więcej między 5 a 24, a nie 6 a 24. Przy tym 40-procentowym progu jakimś rozwiązaniem byłoby zatem maksymalne skumulowanie polskich nagrań między 5 a 6 rano.

    Co do ograniczania się z zagranicznymi piosenkami - tutaj rozwiązaniem byłoby zmniejszenie częstotliwości ich emisji. Niech zatem dana stacja gra tyle samo zagranicznych utworów, ile grała dotychczas, ale za to emituje je rzadziej niż do tej pory.

    A "Kinga" T.Love grało też RMF FM - i to całkiem niedawno z tego, co pamiętam. Ale to tak w ramach akcji: "o, widzicie!, pamiętamy o tym!" (tak jak sobie na jakiś czas po latach przypomnieli o 4 Non Blondes).

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  4. W sumie radia od dawna prawie nie słucham, więc wszystko mi jedno, co grają, byle w Trójce nic się nie zmieniało... Wszelkie ograniczenia są bez sensu - np. w Radiu Maryja o ile się nie mylę, większość piosenek jest po polsku, więc nic zmieniać nie będą. Do tego jeszcze niech wprowadzą zamiast abonamentu rtv obowiązkowy podatek, który każdy będzie płacił, jeśli posiada prąd w domu. To jest dopiero wynalazek! Jak widać, wpis po angielsku, a komentarze po polsku!

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  5. Skoro jesteśmy przy abonamencie- jako słuchacz publicznego radia gorąco popieram wszystkie próby zmuszenia Polaków do płacenia abonamentu. Media publiczne- choć niestety głównie radio :/ - to narodowe dobro.

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  6. @konwicki: Żeby tylko - już pod postem po polsku są komentarze po angielsku! To też dobry, nomen-omen, komentarz do bezsensu wprowadzania ograniczeń :)

    @muzykobloger - pewnie tak właśnie się to skończy - graniem między 5 a 6. To może być takie "lub czasopisma" tej ustawy...

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