A controversial bill setting Greek music and song quotas for a host of enterprises and activities announced by the Greek Culture Ministry has caused a commotion this week.

The proposed legislation, tabled by Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and currently open for public deliberation until March 14, foresees among other, that 45 percent of all music played at hotels, airports, malls, ports and casinos will have to be Greek. Fines for violations may reach up to 20,000 euros.

The same bill also requires that 70 percent of soundtracks for publicly-funded Greek film productions should include Greek-language songs or instrumental renditions of Greek songs.

At the same time, radio stations that increase the percentage of Greek-language songs and music in their programing will be rewarded with more advertising time.

The reasoning behind the decision, Mendoni told local media, is to “safeguard, support, and promote Greek music by offering incentives.” She went on to clarify that the quotas do not apply to cafes, restaurants or hotel rooms.

“Our intervention is very, very balanced,” she told SKAI radio.

Greek Music Quota Proposal Angers Hoteliers, Film Producers

The news sparked an uproar among the country’s hoteliers and film producers who claim that the draft bill is first and foremost unconstitutional and goes against the principles of an open, liberal market. They warned of legal action if the law is passed.

It should be noted that enterprises playing Greek songs and music will be obliged to pay royalties to copyright collection societies, which welcomed the decision.

The Hellenic Hoteliers Federation is warning that the decision to impose Greek music quotas will only backfire. They argue that it will lead many hotels to turn off the music on their sound systems altogether taking a toll on business activity, customers, artists and local culture. They go on to add that the ministry will have to first table a clear framework of fees and payment methods.

On their part, the Audiovisual Producers Association of Greece said the requirement was “outrageous” and citing article 16 of the Greek Constitution go on to add that it has “no place in a modern democratic state of law within the EU and a member of the Council of Europe”.

Countries like France, Spain, Brazil, Hungary and Portugal have also introduced national music quotas.