- French pop music
French pop music is the
pop musicsung in the French language. It is usually performed by singers from France, Belgium, Quebec, or any of the other francophoneareas of the world. The target audience is the francophonemarket (primarily France), which is considerably smaller and largely independent from the mainstream anglophonemarket.
The first distinct French pop music styles that emerged were the
French rockand the yé-yé, which originated in France during the 1960s. They were influenced by the American rock & roll of the 1950s and was Anglo-American in style. In the early days, this style of French pop music was easily distinguishable from the earlier category of French music called chansonin English. Eventually the early French pop music and the chanson styles crossed over and combined, forming the French pop music of today.
French pop singers usually do not cross over to become a mainstream anglophone pop singer and vice versa, largely due to the language barrier. A notable exception is
Jane Birkinfrom the United Kingdom, who became a leading French pop singer during the yé-yéera of the 1960s. A more recent example is Tina Arenafrom Australia, who released an all French album, Un Autre Univers, a big hit of 2006, in France.
Radio in France
French pop music can be heard on radio stations in France, such as
RTL 2, Europe 2, Radio Nova, Chérie FM, and others. (There are francophone radio stations outside of France, but the ones in France are the most influential with respect to French pop music.) Besides French pop music, these radio stations typically play mainstream pop music (in English) as well as Latin pop, Italian pop, and African pop depending on the station.
Radio stations in France are required to play at least 40% of their songs in French, during prime hours. France's "Pelchat amendment" to the "1994 Broadcasting Reform Act" is the law which requires this.
There are studies which correlate radio station play-time with album sales. And that seems to have been one of the motivations to pass this law, for the benefit of protecting the French music industry and their sales of French pop music. Without this law, Anglo-American music (songs in English) would have surely overshadowed French pop music.
French pop music artists
* David Looseley, "Popular Music in Contemporary France: Authenticity, Politics, Debate", Berg Publishers, 2004 (ISBN 1-85973-636-X)
* Hugh Dauncey & Steve Cannon (editors), "Popular Music in France from Chanson to Techno: Culture, Identity, and Society", Ashgate Publishing, 2003 (ISBN 0-7546-0849-2)
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