Music industry representatives in France have gathered at the offices of the country’s broadcast watchdog the CSA to air concerns over difficult-to-fill quotas on French-language titles.
French radio stations are struggling to fulfil a quota that demands 40% of songs played be French-language titles, half of which are required to come from new artists, with the number of French pop songs being produced dwindling.
The law was introduced in 1994 in an attempt to stem an invasion of English-language songs.
Increasingly French singers have switched to singing in English in recent years due to ease of export and the languages perceived better-suitability for pop music – between 2003 and now the number of French-language album releases dropped from 718 to 158.
Head of Fun and RTL2 radio stations Jérôme Fouqueray, who is leading the call for system change, said “one cannot continue to ignore the new scene which is not French-speaking”.
Fouqueray pointed to the success English-speaking French singers are having abroad while remaining relatively unknown at home, telling Le Parisien newspaper “the setup must evolve”.
NRJ radio group’s Maryam Salehi asked: “How can you ask radio broadcasters to respect quotas if producers dry up the source?”
SNEP, the body set up to protect the interests of the French record industry, dismissed such claims however, with general manager David El Sayegh saying: “Granted, there are fewer French productions than ten years ago due to the record crisis. But last year we proposed 720 French-speaking titles to the radio, that's a 28 per cent rise on 2009.”
“However, music FM stations only use 15 singles to meet 90 per cent of their quota. They're terrified of new material.”