Ex-rapper turned MP wants more Polish music on radio

A former Polish hip hop artist presented a bill to support domestic artists on the music market.

Independent MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec, who made a name for himself as a controversial hip-hop artist before launching into national politics, presented a new legislative initiative which would introduce higher minimum quotas for Polish music hitting the country’s airwaves.

Mr Marzec, who has changed his legal name in order for his stage name to appear on the ballot paper, is no stranger to the music industry, having come to fame back in the 1990s. For a long time associated with obscenity-laden rap, he decided to run in the 2015 elections.

The new bill presented by Mr Liroy-Marzec would make it obligatory for Polish music to make up at least 50 percent of airplay in Poland. “We want to get back to a situation where there’s true competition on the Polish music market,” the author of the bill says. The current minimum for Polish music is 33 percent. In addition, the bill proposes that 20 percent of airplay be reserved for independent artists. Broadcasters would also receive incentives for playing music recorded in the last five years, in order to help emerging artists break into the saturated market.

The primary objective of the new initiative is to protect Polish artists, who are often struggling in the face of the immense popularity of foreign music. “Most European radio stations promote domestic artists. In some EU countries, music by such artists accounts for as much as 90 percent of all tracks played", Mr Marzec wrote in the statement accompanying the bill, adding that the current regulations allow Polish artists to be “marginalised”.

The new proposal is likely to be opposed by broadcasters, who believe that the regulations are both unnecessary and potentially harmful. “The role of a commercial broadcaster is to play the type of music which a potentially wide audience would like to hear”, said Zbigniew Zegler, director of one of Poland’s major radio stations, adding that the proposed legislation would drive listeners away towards online streaming services, “where nobody tells anyone what they must listen to”. “This would not have been good for the listeners, the radio market or the music industry in general”, Mr Zegler added.

The estimated value of Poland’s music market in 2017 was over EUR 30 million, with digital music sales accounting for more than 35 percent.