This sort of cultural nationalism being suggested in Italy never really works out all that well. Hmm, perhaps that depends upon who you are. If you follow our business plan then you’ll be just fine of course, reveling in it. That it won’t achieve what its promoters desire is equally obvious. For it hasn’t in France where they’ve been doing this for decades:
Italy’s right-wing League party has started a campaign to force radio stations to dedicate almost half their airtime to Italian music less than a fortnight after the party’s leader criticised the victory of a migrant’s son in a televised music contest. Alessandro Morelli, an MP and former director of the League’s station Radio Padania Libera, has tabled a bill in parliament that would hand more than a third of airtime to songs by Italian artists that are recorded and produced in the country. An additional 10 per cent of airtime would be reserved for emerging Italian talent, bringing national content to 43 per cent of the total output.
They are learning a little bit from the French example:
The bill demands that stations dedicate “at least one third of their daily programming to Italian music production, opera by Italian authors and artists and recorded and produced in Italy, distributed homogeneously during the 24 hours of programming”.
For years the French language songs were played at 3am and the like, the times when anyone was actually listening being reserved for English language productions.
What will actually happen with a bill like this is just what did happen in France. So, you gather up a little orchestra of session musicians to re-record hits by popular beat combos. You even try to pre-empt a bit, thinking about what is going to be a hit. You also rewrite the lyrics into Italian, get some local warbler to have a belt at them. Then release to radio.
Result? Because of the language restrictions they’ll use your locally produced version often enough. You get the 50% of the needle time royalties for the lyrics as they are indeed by you. The original music author gets the other 50% as she should. If you can get your recording costs down low enough – hint, real musicians can sight read, should be just the one take to get it down on tape – you can make a fun living doing this. And there’s always the possibility that someone might actually buy a record or two as well.
After all, why not? There’s long been a thriving little cottage industry in France doing just this.