Reading: Golden Oldies in Bulgaria (B1)


Radio listeners in Bulgaria can now start listening to modern music again. For the past two months, they could only listen to music that was over 70 years old. A dispute over copyright meant the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) could not play any pop music. Listeners could only listen to classical music or folk songs that were recorded before World War II. In the European Union, copyright disappears 70 years after an artist’s death. BNR has now signed a deal with the copyright organisation. In the deal, BNR will pay more royalty fees. A part of these fees go to the singer, band, composer or songwriter of a song or a piece of music. Every time the radio plays a song, it must pay royalties to the artist.

Something surprising happened during the two-month dispute over copyright and royalties. The number of listeners to BNR’s shows increased by 20 per cent. After the radio station started playing only Bulgarian folk tunes, classical music and pre-war jazz, more people started listening to the radio. It seems many listeners are more interested in listening to older music than Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. BNR is now thinking about changing its music programming. BNR boss Mr┬áVelev said there could even be new radio stations. Mr Velev told reporters: “We will not change the profiles of the current radio shows. Instead, we will launch new radio stations with more types of music.”