>> Monday, March 30, 2009
This is going to be a little off topic since most of our visitors are not from Serbia nor surrounding countries like myself but I will write this anyway.
The ministry of culture in Serbia brought up an law for music last month. Apparently now you must have an "Association of musicians of the Serbian estrade" (roughly translated) license in order to perform. I'm not sure if the word estrade is used in English but here it basically means the same thing as music scene (usually associated with mainstream music and performers). Unless you don't have this license you are not allowed to perform outside the state and soon they will bring the new law that will also prevent you from playing at local areas. In order to obtain this license you must:
1. Pay an yearly fee of 11200 Dinars (which is about 119 euros).
2. You must pass the musician exam.
3. After you pass the test you must go and perform in front of an jury and then they will decide if you are an musician or not.
4. Starting from February all musicians visas and ATA cards are not valid.
Obviously the jury and definition of music will be defined by pop artists from Serbia. And by pop i mean folk and turbofolk which is the most popular music in Serbia and also very popular in neighboring countries.
People who are into underground forms of music such as metal, punk, noise etc. will not get this license because (and I quote the ministry official response): "alternative music is considered to be an lower form of art (and that's how it's called in most western countries)". Further on the ministry states "Law about culture will clearly define this area and eliminate problems that showed in practice." But they later state that they will form a jury for rock music but that does not solve the problem for more extreme genres.
This an clear attempt to eradicate all kinds of alternative music from the big guys. Obviously non profit bands and people who do DIY albums, hold small gigs etc. will not be able and will not pay this fee nor intend to get this license. Music is supposed to be a form of expression and it's not supposed to be taxed nor it should need a license.
I had hopes that this shithole region in general not just Serbia has passed beyond dictatorship and media control but I guess I was wrong. This is an obvious sign that their government is trying to filter music to their own liking.
The people in Serbia and the underground scene are of course furious about this and started protests, gigs, petitions etc. You can show them support by joining their myspace (www.myspace.com/unus_sr) group if you care.
Personally I think the main problem concerning more underground musicians is that they will not be allowed to cross the borders which is retarded. I'm completely disappointed with this whole thing, I had high hopes. >_>