Slovenia: Tinder-tedious?

 

This story was produced by our community for the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards. Read the Slovenian translation here.

 
Illustration by  Simon Bournel

Illustration by Simon Bournel

 

17-year old Gašper Cvetič shares his opinion about the Slovenian youth’s music taste.

Tucked away between mountains and lakes in central Europe, Slovenia offers a diverse music scene, that has largely remained unknown to the rest of the world. Before Slovenian independence, all of the publishing was under the control of the Yugoslav regime. After, private publishing houses started to bloom, with many new music producers entering the market and local artists performing in regional and international festivals. Folk, jazz, electroacoustic music, contemporary classical music, and more experimentally oriented electronic music have echoed through country’s beautiful landscapes ever since.

I feel like the younger generation in my country no longer seems to enjoy music by dancing their shoes off and enjoying the eclectic local music festivals. Instead, they spend most of their time listening to music online, or trying to get a date using dating platforms like Tinder.

On Tinder, a person can select a person they like with a left or right swipe, and find their match. It seems like the Slovenian youth uses the same method to find their music: whatever their app of preference introduces them to, they will instantly judge by figuratively swiping. Although national radio stations have quotas concerning the obligated amount of Slovenian music to be played, some commercial stations bypassed this by playing the necessary quotas only during night time. Using online streaming services, sidesteps these quota entirely, which is how Slovenian youth miss out on their country’s rich music culture.

 
 

Through applications like Spotify and Youtube, people have the ability to reject music before even taking the time to actually interact with it. Moreover, the algorithms create filter bubbles around people and reconfirm people’s own taste. This makes it more challenging for many of the upcoming artists in the country to surprise people with their music, since these applications work better for big labels. About 10% of the top artists around the world dominate Spotify. With almost every youngster using Spotify to listen to music, the songs they listen to are mainly from these big artists. This is a shame for local artists trying to make a name for themselves in the country. Although the country is home to several well-known local musicians, like Magnifico, Laibach, or the alternative rock band Siddharta, the number of songs produced in the local Slovene language are diminishing.

But Slovenian music has played an important role in challenging the socialist-communist regime of Yugoslavia and its disintegration. Laibach (“Ljubljana” in German), the Slovenian avant-garde music group that was associated with industrial genres, played an important role in the formation of Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), or “New Slovenian Art.” As a beacon of counter culture and protest, the collective has been credited with making a substantial contribution to the pluralization of the former Yugoslavia and Slovenia’s politics, society and culture. They even declared to be a “sovereign state” in 1991—their artwork was represented by an unofficial embassy, and the collective issues their own passports.

I feel like my generation seems to enjoy music from international artists more than their own local singers. They swipe left and forget about the beauty and wholesomeness of songs in the local language. By rejecting music in this manner, roots are forgotten. As a youngster in this country, not being able to embrace my mother tongue through my country’s cultural heritage is difficult. Music should bring people together, and also celebrate something that we all have in common. In shaping our national identity, Slovenian music could be the social glue that is currently missing. What is there to unite and surprise us, if we stay within our own filter bubble?

While I am no different than any other young Slovenian, I suggest that we change our everyday “Tinder lives” by not treating the country’s music like a superficial dating application. The music industry should be appreciated with an open mind. S-love-nia! It is time we stop swiping left.