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New study reveals that cultural and creative industries could hold the key to rebuilding Europe’s battered economy

Cultural and creative industries (CCIs):

  • employed more than twice as many people as telecommunications and automotive industries combined
  • were growing faster than the EU average
  • represented 4.4% of EU GDP in terms of turnover
  • are some of the worst affected by the COVID pandemic (more than the tourism industry and almost on par with air transport)
  • if properly empowered, could hold the key to rebuilding Europe’s economy

Cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are much more than just another sector to get out of the crisis, they are a significant part of Europe’ solution to the current situation and its economic and social consequences.  

This new study from EY, called Rebuilding Europe: the cultural and creative economy before and after COVID-19, captures the figures behind Europe’s thriving cultural and creative economy before the pandemic, and the staggering effects of venue and shop closures and health measures. It also lays out a series of recommendations to empower CCIs, so they can be one of the drivers to help boost and revamp the EU economy.

In 2019, the CCIs represented 4.4% of EU GDP in terms of turnover, with annual revenues of €643 billion and a total added value of €253 billion. CCIs were also one of Europe’s leading job providers, employing more than 7.6 million people, more than eight times the telecommunications industry. 

CCIs were growing faster (+2.6% per year since 2013) than the EU average (+2%) and represented a trade surplus of €8.6 billion in 2017 (the latest figures available) – underlining the EU’s status as a cultural powerhouse in the world economy. The creative economy also came out favourably in terms of technological innovation, gender diversity and employment of young people.

When COVID-19 took hold, the study finds that CCIs were worse hit than the tourism industry and only marginally less than the air transport industry. CCIs as a whole experienced losses of over 30% of their turnover for 2020 – a cumulated loss of €199 billion – with music and performing art sectors experiencing 75% and 90 % losses respectively, €53 billion for visual arts, €26 billion for audiovisual, etc. 

Considering CCIs’ key contribution to the overall economy, and its potential to lift the EU out of the crisis, the study concludes that the creative sector should be central to Europe’s recovery efforts and recommends a three-pronged approach: ‘finance, empower, leverage’. It recommends massive public financing and the promotion of private investment, a solid legal framework to create the conditions needed to revitalise the creative economy and safeguard its long-term growth, and leveraging the soft power of CCIs and individual creative talent to drive societal progress.

Unprecedented times called for unprecedented measures. Never before has Europe’s creative economy experienced such economic devastation, the effects of which will be felt for the next decade. While the report itself features editorial messages from President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, its release has inspired a unified delegation that, at the initiative of GESAC, will meet high-level decision-makers on the day of the launch, including European Commission Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis, Vice-Presidents Schinas and Šuica, and Commissioners Breton, Gabriel, Gentiloni and Schmit. The delegation includes representatives from across the CCIs, led by cultural ambassador Jean-Michel Jarre.

Jean-Michel Jarre, electronic music pioneer says :“Culture has become a scarce resource in today’s Europe, and we are all suffering because of it. At the same time, Europeans are experiencing the truly profound value of art and its ability to bring us together. This study reflects that reality, it puts numbers to the suffering and offers clear instructions as to the solution.”

Jean-Noël Tronc, President of GESAC and CEO of SACEM says: “The CCIs are as dynamic as they are vulnerable, as essential as they are diverse, and fortunately, it’s not too late to take action. In addition to massive funding, what’s needed is a solid legal framework that fosters investments and their recoupments while guaranteeing fair remuneration for creators and their business partners and, in this regard, the swift and effective implementation of the Copyright Directive is key. European leaders also need to prepare for the future, by using the CCIs – and the multiplied power of their millions of individual talents – as a major accelerator of social, societal and environmental progress in Europe.”

Marc Lhermitte, Partner at EY says: “This study provides the most up to date data on the massive economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on cultural and creative industries in Europe. 2020 was a dramatic year for the cultural and creative industries (CCIs), both in Europe and around the world. Culture was the first to suspend most of its live and retail activity – and it will probably be the last to resume without constraint. But the study also asserts that this sector, an economic heavyweight, which is at the heart of Europe’s social fabric, could become the number one ally of an economic revival. It showcases the power of culture, its dynamism and its contribution to the EU’s global influence.”

The study was commissioned by GESAC (European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers) and brought together a broad array of partners; AEPO-ARTIS, EUROCINEMA, EUROCOPYA, EVA, FIAPF, IMPALA, IVF, SAA, SROC, and supportive organisations; AER, CEPIC, EACA, ECSA, EGDF, EPC, FEP, FERA, FSE, IFRRO, IMPF, highlighting the cross-sectoral support for its findings and recommendations. 

RTÉ 2FM Rising list for 2021 revealed

RTÉ 2FM has revealed its exciting 2FM Rising list for 2021. This prestigious list, chosen by a panel of experts, consists of ten cutting edge music acts that will have listeners buzzing with their fresh new sound.

The ten artists are: For Those I love, Shiv, The Clockworks, Shane Codd, Lea Heart, Monjola, Robert Grace, Bobbi Arlo, Gemma Dunleavy and Plantain Papi.

In previous years, names on the Rising list have included: Fontaines D.C. Wyvern Lingo, Lyra, and Dermot Kennedy.

The announcement, which was made on The Tracy Clifford Show 2FM, will kick start with a ‘Rising Week’ from 18-24 January 2021. The ‘Rising Week’ will see the ten chosen acts, which 2FM will champion during the year, promoted extensively across the station. It will also broadcast exclusive new music and interviews with these exceptional artists.

Director of Music 2FM Adam Fogarty said: “Rising is a key initiative from 2FM and RTÉ as the support of Irish music and Irish artists is an important part of what we do and what we represent. We’re extremely excited about our 10 acts this year and we feel the list is a fantastic example of how strong and diverse Irish music is right now. In a time when musicians and artists need all the support they can get, we hope 2FM Rising can be a benefit to these artists on their respective journeys to bigger things.”

Each of this years ten acts will also receive a €1,000 bursary from IMRO.

IMRO Chief Executive Victor Finn said “IMRO is delighted to play its part in assisting some of our finest new musical talent realise their creative and career goals in the year ahead. It has been an incredibly challenging time for the music and wider artistic community and the 2FM Rising initiative will provide an invaluable promotional and support platform for all of the participating acts throughout 2021.”

2FM Rising is an artist development initiative providing airplay, promotional and content opportunities for its chosen participants.

For details, see: or

IMRO Music Industry Webinar | YouTube Best Practice

YouTube offer a breadth of opportunities to customise videos, drive viewers to other videos on your channel, create playlists, and engage with your community. In this module we will explain the essentials of YouTube strategy and optimisation. Furthermore, with an estimated 70% of all watch time on YouTube being driven by recommendations from YouTube’s algorithm, this module, which is delivered by Music Ally, covers all bases for ensuring your YouTube videos and channels are as visible as possible.

Date: Tuesday 9th February
Time: 10am – 11.30am
Bookings:  FREE Online Webinar | Booking Essential | Email:  ei.ormi@stneve to reserve your place.

About Music Ally

Music Ally launched in 2002 with a mission to help the global music industry to thrive from digital disruption rather than fear it. Their original focus was on providing news and analysis of the way technology is impacting the industry and providing strategy and research to enable music companies to navigate the new landscape. Over time they have evolved, now providing more hands-on marketing services and training for music professionals around the world. Music Ally also plays a role connecting different communities by organising regular conferences, including NY:LON Connect and Sandbox Summit in London and New York, and social events with partners including Music Biz, by:Larm, AWAL, Midem and Circulart. They are currently exploring the evolution of the global music business, publishing regular profiles and analysis of expanding markets as well as launching an editorial service in Japan, opening an office in Medellín, Colombia with plans for Music Ally Africa and Music Ally China too. Their clients are across the music and technology sectors, and include all of the major labels, many independents, music publishers, management companies and music platforms like Spotify, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

GoldenPlec partner with IMRO for their PlecPicks 2021 Series

PlecPicks, the annual flagship series from GoldenPlec highlights the best new Irish music to look out for in the year ahead.

Now in its 8th year of publication the ‘Ones To Watch’ style features series has built up a reputation as the most comprehensive and detailed series of its type in Ireland with a reputation for tipping artists such as Hozier, Dermot Kennedy, Soule, Denise Chaila, Joy Crookes, Fontaines D.C. and more besides ahead of their big break.

The series includes a month of features, published daily throughout January (Mon-Fri), focussing on up-and-coming Irish musicians. The 2021 series has already begun with artists such as Tolu Makay, Yenkee, Gemma Dunleavy and Malaki kicking it all off.

Speaking on the announcement GoldenPlec Editors Stephen Byrne and Ros Madigan stated: “Over the course of the last 8 years we have worked tirelessly to build Plec Picks into Ireland’s premier new music feature series. We are excited to partner with IMRO on this project because it will enable us to introduce Irish artists to more people than ever before.

The Irish music scene has been decimated by the pandemic and now, more than ever it is important to support Irish music and the Irish music industry both at home and abroad. This partnership will allow GoldenPlec to continue to showcase the amazing talent of Irish artists across all genres.”  

The 2021 Plec Picks series will feature in-depth interviews with the twenty chosen artists in tandem with a professional photoshoot created by GoldenPlec’s outstanding photography team; tailored to suit the unique visual style of each artist.

In addition to this, GoldenPlec have added high quality video shoots in The Clinic Recording Studios, Dublin to the mix for 2021.

Keep an eye out on GoldenPlec’s social media each day for an update on each new act.


RTÉ Choice Music Prize | Irish Album of the Year 2020 – Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year 2020, in association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced today on RTÉ 2FM’s Tracy Clifford Show by Jim Carroll, chairman of the judging panel.

The shortlist is as follows:

Bitch Falcon – Staring at Clocks (Small Pond Recordings)
Denise Chaila – Go Bravely  (narolane)
Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death  (Partisan Records)
JyellowL – 2020 D|vision  (JyellowL Records)
Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine  (Loaded Records)
Nealo – All The Leaves Are Falling  (2020 Nealo)
Pillow Queens – In Waiting  (Pillow Queens Records)
Ailbhe Reddy – Personal History  (Friends of the Family)
Niamh Regan – Hemet  (The Black Gate Label)
Silverbacks – Fad  (Central Tones)

As part of RTÉ’s continued commitment to promoting Irish music, RTÉ 2FM again celebrates the announcement of the shortlist across its schedule throughout the day with All Irish Music All Day from 6am to midnight. 

Commenting, Adam Fogarty, Head of Music, RTÉ 2FM said, ”Irish music is such an important part of 2fm and what we do. There’s so much incredible talent in Ireland right now and we believe Irish music is in the best place it’s ever been. As part of our RTÉ Choice Music prize announcement, 2fm will be going ‘all Irish, all day’ once again to support the amazing artists we have here.”

The Irish Album of the Year 2020 will be announced live on RTÉ 2FM in a special Tracy Clifford Show from 12-3pm on Thursday 4th March and broadcast live on RTÉ Player. The show will feature live performances from some of the shortlisted acts, further details on the line-up to be announced soon.

A special RTÉ Choice Music Prize highlights programme will be broadcast on RTÉ2 television the following week.

The 16th annual RTÉ Choice Music Prize will once again celebrate the best in Irish recorded music.   The Prize has become one of the music-industry highlights of the year since its inception in 2005. The Irish Album of the Year award is chosen from a shortlist of ten albums by a panel of eleven Irish music media professionals and industry experts. The full list of judges is listed on

The winning act will receive €10,000, a prize fund which has been provided by The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). All shortlisted acts will receive a specially commissioned award.


Minister Martin announces funding of €230,000 for the expansion of the Minding Creative Minds support service to the Irish creative sector

The Minister for Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin T.D., today announced funding of €230,000 for the expansion of Minding Creative Minds existing service to the entire Irish creative sector, both home and abroad.

Workers in the cultural, creative and live entertainment sector continue to be significantly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Life Worth Living, the Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery taskforce concluded that “All these factors are having a damaging effect on the mental health and wellbeing of people working in these sectors”. Recommendation 6 of this report further recognises the need establish a programme that provides wellbeing supports to the creative sector.

Minding Creative Minds Wellbeing & Support Programme (in association with Spectrum Life) is Ireland’s first 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Creative sector.  First launched in June 2020, with thanks to the support of their funding partners (First Fortnight, IMRO, IRMA, MCD, Universal Music Ireland, RAAP, BAI, KPMG and as one of the chosen beneficiaries of EPIC Working Group’s fundraising initiative, Songs From An Empty Room and ongoing We are the Support Act fundraising initiatives), this support programme will now be extended to offer the following services to the entire Irish creative community. This will include:

  • 24/7 free dedicated phone helpline;
  • Up to 6 free counselling sessions;
  • Financial assistance, consumer advice and legal assistance for a range of issues;
  • Career guidance and life coaching;
  • Support for Non-Irish nationals and their families;
  • Mediation for conflict resolution.

Updates and further information on how to access these services are now available on the Minding Creative Minds website.

Minister Martin said:  “I am very pleased to announce this funding to support the important work of Minding Creative Minds. Now, more than ever, our creative community requires support. I would like to congratulate Minding Creative Minds on their success to date in rolling out this innovative programme of supports to those requiring assistance in the music sector and I look forward to the expansion of this programme over the coming weeks, which I am sure will be welcomed by the Irish creative sector, both home and abroad.”

Commenting on the funding announcement Eleanor McEvoy, Chair of IMRO said: “I’m delighted that the Minding Creative Minds initiative has now been extended beyond the music industry and into the entire creative sector. It’s a wonderful initiative that is already providing much needed support for those of us that work in the music industry and it’s heartening that the extension of the program will mean that that many more will now benefit from these much needed services.”

New supports for local radio and audiovisual production that supports the Live Music Sector Announced

Minister Catherine Martin has today announced additional financial supports of €4.9m for the broadcasting sector. The supports are targeted at independent radio, in particular local and regional radio, and the production of programmes that support the live music sector.

Minister Martin will be providing additional funding of €2.5m for the independent radio sector.

The Minister today wrote to the BAI requesting that they develop a funding round for the independent radio sector early next year. Minister Martin asked that local and regional radio stations in particular would be prioritised.

Speaking today the Minister said: “Radio has played a vital role in providing reliable news and information to citizens throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and in bringing together local communities. I am delighted to be able to provide additional support of €2.5m which builds on earlier supports to the sector to ensure they can continue to deliver their services at this difficult time when advertising revenues have been reduced.

“I hope these extra funds will help local radio stations across the country who have had a difficult year. I have met with the sector and heard their concerns and want to ensure that local radio stations have more support as we hopefully look towards a better period for the country next year.”

Recognising the severe challenges faced by the live music sector as a result of COVID-19, the Minister also asked the BAI to include a call for specific projects to support this sector in the next general round of Sound and Vision and has provided €1.4m for this purpose.

The Minister noted: “We all love our live music and miss going to gigs and concerts. I have asked the BAI, therefore, in calling for applications for the next general round of Sound and Vision to seek projects which will provide a mechanism to support the sector.”

This will complement the other initiatives to support the live music sector that the Minister has already put in place.

Finally, the Minister asked the BAI to allocate €1m of the additional funding to the current Sound and Vision round which was hugely oversubscribed, providing much needed support for the independent production sector.

IMRO and Law Society of Ireland Annual Copyright Lecture Announced

Where the creative arts meet artificial intelligence: IMRO and Law Society of Ireland Annual Copyright Lecture 2021 to focus on the important intersection between copyright and AI.

IMRO and the Law Society of Ireland are highlighting the growing importance and complexity of the relationship between creative intellectual property (IP) and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Dr Mark Hyland, IMRO adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Law Society, outlines that the growing prominence and transformative power of AI is having an enormous impact on the creation and distribution of cultural and creative goods and services.

This important topic has been the focus of a series of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) public consultations called the WIPO Conversation on Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence,” Dr Hyland explains. “The conversation aims to bridge the existing information gap between AI players and regulators, and build broad awareness of the diverse issues in this fast-moving and complex field.” Read more about the WIPO Conversation on IP and AI here, with the most recent public consultations having taken place (virtual sessions) on 7-9 July and, on 4 November 2020. 

“There is a concept on the effect of new technology, known as ‘Amara’s Law,’” suggests Barry Scannell, Director of Legal Affairs in IMRO and a PhD candidate on AI and music rights in University College Cork, “Whereby the short-term effects of a new technology are over-estimated, while the long-term consequences of the technology are ignored.”

“We are witnessing this in the intersection of AI and music, where the state-of-the-art in AI is not capable of autonomously generating art, but there are still concerns in some sectors as to what this means for the industry. Meanwhile, the technology’s overwhelmingly positive long term-capabilities are not given adequate consideration,” he said. 

2021 IMRO and Law Society of Ireland Annual Copyright Lecture

The Law Society and IMRO will host a free public lecture on the intersection between copyright and AI on Tuesday 16 February 2021. This event is part of a unique partnership between the Law Society and IMRO, designed to highlight the importance of intellectual property to Ireland’s economic, cultural and creative sectors.

The lecture, titled The Complex Intersection between Copyright and Artificial Intelligence will be delivered online and details of how to register will be published in early 2021. Speakers on the day will be Dr Hyland, Barry Scannell (IMRO) and Professor Jonathan Griffiths of Queen Mary University of London (acting as discussant). 

IMRO Adjunct Professorship of Intellectual Property Law

Dr Mark Hyland is the inaugural adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law. IMRO and the Law Society of Ireland partnered to create the role in response to the fast-changing digital landscape and the inevitable on-going effects on copyright law and practice.

The professorship is a key resource to the Law Society in broadening the knowledge base of trainee and qualified solicitors in the expanding area of IP Law.  The expectation is that a solid grounding in this field of law will entice a new generation of lawyers into the music and entertainment industries.

Dr Hyland is a lecturer in the College of Business at the Technological University Dublin. His current research focuses on two main themes: website-blocking injunctions in an IP context and, how geo-location/geo-blocking technologies can be used to facilitate the territorial licensing of digital copyright works. He is a qualified solicitor and contributes articles on EU IP/IT law developments to the Eurlegal section of the Law Society Gazette.

Read more about the IMRO Adjunct Professorship of Intellectual Property Law here.

IMRO welcomes Joshua Regala as our 15,000th Member

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is delighted to welcome Joshua Regala as our 15,000th member.

The 15 year old County Meath native stole the hearts and minds of the public earlier this year with a stunning performance on the Voice Kids UK which resulted in all 4 judges turning for him and culminated with an impromptu duet with his mother. 

Joshua’s official YouTube videos have amassed almost 1.5 million views since with new fans in the UK, Ireland and the Philippines. 

Joshua released his debut single, ‘If I’d Never Let Go’ in August, with new single ‘End Of The Road’ scheduled for release early in 2021.

Twitter: @joshuaregalamusic

Music supports two million jobs, contributes €81.9 billion annually to economy of EU and UK, study finds

The music sector supports two million jobs and contributes €81.9 billion annually to the economy across the 27 EU Member States and the UK (EU28), according to The Economic Impact of Music in Europe, an in-depth study by Oxford Economics that was commissioned by IFPI.

The study, using 2018 data, found that music’s annual economic contributions to the EU28 include:

  • Supporting two million jobs;
  • Contributing €81.9 billion in gross value added to GDP; and
  • Exporting €9.7 billion worth of goods and services to countries outside the EU28.

Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI, said: “Music is an essential part of Europe, its identity and culture. In so many ways music’s value is incalculable, it thrills us and heals us. Even beyond that, as Oxford Economics’ first-of-its-kind report demonstrates, music makes a vital economic contribution to the European Union and UK – supporting jobs, boosting gross domestic product and tax payments, and driving exports.

“At the heart of this contribution are the EU’s 7,400 record companies. In addition to employing nearly 45,000 people across the EU, they invest significantly in other parts of the music sector and make a major contribution to Europe’s exports.

“For music’s essential contribution to Europe to be sustainable for the long term, fair value must be returned to those who create and invest in music. To enable this, the sector needs a fair legal and policy environment in Europe, and we continue to work with policymakers to achieve this.”

Pete Collings, Director of Economic Impact Consulting, Europe & Middle East, at Oxford Economics, said: “By investigating how the music sector interacts with the rest of the economy, our study maps how it stimulates economic activity, supports jobs and generates tax revenues throughout the whole of Europe. In doing so, we highlight how the music sector—an ecosystem of large and small firms undertaking a wide variety of activities—directly accounts for a sizable contribution to the European economy, comparable to the entire economies of several Member States.

“However, the sector’s economic footprint extends far beyond its own activities. The purchases it makes from firms throughout Europe support lengthy pan-European supply chains. These multiplier effects reach every part of the European economy, further sustaining employment, delivering tax revenues, and generating GDP throughout the continent.”

The Economic Impact of Music in Europe also examines the music sector’s total impact on employment, finding that it supported two million jobs in the EU28, meaning that one in every 119 jobs depended on it.

The study also found that European music exports (including exports from the UK) generated €9.7 billion in revenues – of which record companies, music publishers, and audio streaming services generated almost half (€4.7 billion).

The music sector also played a vital role in generating tax revenues, supporting €31 billion in tax receipts in the EU28 in 2018. This was equivalent to 19.4% of the entire EU budget in the same year.

The Economic Impact of Music in Europe is available here.

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