Controversial Bulgarian Popfolk Company Gets Major EU Funding
An advertising poster presenting twelve of the stars of popfolk music channel Planeta TV. Photo by Planeta TV
Bulgarian record producer Payner, which is known as the largest label for the so called popfolk or chalga music, has secured major funding under EU Operational Program Competitiveness, according to a report.
Payner's EU funds boost, whose payments are yet to made, was reported Tuesday by the Bulgarian daily Presa ("Press").
Payner is largely controversial precisely because of the controversial nature of the so called chalga music – a notorious style that emerged in Bulgaria in the 1990s with oriental motifs focusing on money and sexual allusions, and is generally known to be enjoyed by "mutri", former wrestlers who took over organized crime in large numbers.
Popfolk or chalga is generally popular with the Bulgarian pubic in spite of devastating criticism from Bulgarian intellectuals and is deemed exotic by foreigners, especially westerners.
This is precisely why the fact that Payner got EU funding is hinted to be scandalous in reports of the Bulgarian press.
In order to win the funding from Brussels for improving the "competitiveness" of its company, Payner's owner Mitko Dimitrov has stated that the goal of his project for which he was awarded EU money by the Bulgarian government was to "boost the firm's competitiveness on the local market by modernizing its equipment."
The chalga record label said it wanted to "sustainable economic growth and to preserve the leadership positions of the firm."
Payner, which is based in the southern town of Dimitrovgrad, also promises to use the money to boost its ratings, attract new viewers, and thus increase its advertising income, while also "creating new jobs and boosting the Bulgarian economy".
Thus, Payner's total approved funding will be BGN 3.197 M, including a grant of almost BGN 2 M from the EU.
The Presa daily points out that Payner's TV channel Planeta ("Planet") is a major popfolk music TV channel in Bulgaria and is also watched in neighboring Balkan countries such as Albania and Macedonia.
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