French radio is obliged by law to comply to a 40% French song ratio. This supposedly promotes French national identity in a world dominated by big Anglophone superstars.
How many of you have heard of last summer’s huge hits by Nadiya, Superbus or rap collective Sexion D’Assault? Didn’t think so… there’s probably a reason. Much of French commercial music is shockingly bad. Yet these songs are still massively overplayed on popular Parisian radio stations such as NRJ or Voltage.
Of course there’s David Guetta, definitely in the running for most famous Frenchman du jour. But as a DJ featuring massive American stars who sing in English on his records, he hardly counts.
It seems the French have found a new way to get around this law. They are well aware of the fact most of their audience want to hear popular songs from beyond the hexagon. Therefore: the Franglais blend is born.
Listen to this – the French version of Jason Derulo’s ‘Watcha Say’.
Some verse and chorus parts have been badly dubbed by a French woman who seems to confuse singing with whining. Jason’s still chimes in every now and again though, hooray.
This is sadly a growing trend on Parisian radio. Another more successful example is:
Lily Allen featuring Ours sounded horribly wrong at first. The lyrics are very longwinded and have little to do with the original ones. It grows on you… but Ours should be making his own songs catchier instead of riding on Lily’s coattails.
Innovation and quality content is seriously lacking on most of the radio stations in the Paris area. Compared to the myriad of shows and music range available on British radio, it’s repetitive and uninspiring.
So I say forget the law, or at least play some decent French music.