Bulgaria's Public Radio Stops Playing Contemporary Music over Row
The Bulgarian National Radio will only play classical music, jazz and folklore as of January 01, its Director General says.
In a statement, Aleksandar Velev has cited a dispute of the public broadcaster with Musicautor, the union managing copyright of composers and record labels.
Musicautor "unilaterally suspended its contract with the BNR" and barred the radio braodcaster from playing any music whose rights it holds, he has explained.
This comprises much of the contemporary music in Bulgaria and abroad. No royalties are needed to play much of the classical, jazz and folklore music on the BNR's archive as its prescription has expired.
But the union insists the amount of music royalties paid by the BNR should be three times the current one.
The demand, however, is a burden on the BNR's budget and "does not rest with economic realities", with state funding allocated to the BNR remaining unchanged. To pay to Musicautor, the broadcaster would have to suspend one of its regional programs or take anoher harsh measure that would "tarnish the radio's public mission".
The measure will be in force on a temporary basis, until the row is settled.
Bulgaria's both public broadcasters, the BNT and the BNR, hold the status under the 1997 Radio and Television Act, but are de facto state-run, with funding set aside by the central budget every year.