Welsh music boycott for Radio Cymru


Tomos Hughes


A GWYNEDD musician has described a Welsh language music boycott of BBC Radio Cymru as a ‘David and Goliath situation’.

BBC Radio Cymru has been forced to stop playing the music of 331 Welsh language artists, many of whom are from the Anglesey and Gwynedd area, after they failed to reach an agreement with Welsh music body EOS over royalties payments.

EOS gave the BBC three months notice of the move to revoke their broadcasting rights, but having failed to come to an agreement after negotiations, Welsh music has been severely cut from the station, leading to shows being cancelled.

Since 2007, royalties payments made to Welsh language musicians was reduced by 85%, a loss of about £1.3 million annually.

Gwynedd based musician Gai Toms said: “People think that we’re being greedy, but royalties accounted for about 40% of my income. It means I’ve had to change direction.

“I’ve worked as a teacher for a year to try and plug the hole left by the PRS payments.

“It’s a David and Goliath situation, but David is still battling. The BBC puppeteers are in London and they have no idea of the cultural impact their decisions could have.”

Chairman of EOS, Gwilym Morus, said: “It’s a shame that the BBC have chosen to damage the national radio service because they are unwilling to pay a fair price for Welsh music.

"The failure to come to a reasonable agreement with Eos means that some programs have been cancelled while others have been cut back. We ask them to reconsider their current aproach so as to avoid causing any long term damage to Radio Cymru.”

A BBC Cymru statement read: “Like Eos, we're very disappointed that we've not yet been able to reach an agreement. It is also disappointing that Radio Cymru programming will be now be affected by the dispute and we'll obviously do everything possible to minimise the impact on the daily service we provide to thousands of listeners across Wales.

"Radio Cymru's commitment to support and develop Welsh music is a longstanding one - and we have listened carefully to the concerns of Welsh language composers and artists during this dispute.”

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