IMRO calls for political focus on the role of music to Ireland’s economy and society

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) has today called on political parties and candidates campaigning in General Election 2016 to focus on the future of Irish music as they shape their policies and engage with the electorate. This follows the publication by IMRO, of a report last year entitled The Socio-Economic Contribution of Music to the Irish Economy and Society which demonstrates that the music sector in Ireland supports 11,500 jobs and contributes almost half a billion euro to the economy annually.

Victor Finn, Chief Executive Officer, IMRO said, “If Ireland’s music sector is to be protected, sustained and developed, the right policy environment must be created – a focus on training, education, copyright, access to export markets and finance is required to help ensure a viable music industry into the future.

We have seen very little focus on the future of Irish music by parties and candidates in the General Election campaign to date. This is despite music being a sector that supports thousands of jobs, delivers hundreds of millions of euro to the economy and attracts thousands of tourists to Ireland annually. It is a crucial part of our national identity and must be prioritised.

Being a musician is a real career and musicians are entrepreneurs who require support just like any other SMEs.  By supporting these entrepreneurs, there’s a huge opportunity not just for Ireland’s economy, but also socially, helping to create and maintain jobs nationwide and ensure that our towns and villages can be revived as vibrant cultural hubs.”

He continued, “At IMRO, we acknowledge that there has been some focus by Government to date on the future of music through Culture 2025 and programmes such as Music Generation.

However, a piecemeal approach will not work. What is now needed is one clear, consolidated, cross- Departmental music strategy that is coordinated, focused, measurable and cost-efficient. We have seen with the Oscars and Baftas recently, how successful Irish film has been and this is as a result of real support and development.

There is a similar opportunity for Irish music, and all that’s required is real political will and coordinated action.”

IMRO is calling for a number of simple measures, which, if implemented, could finally see the music sector in Ireland develop to its full potential:

  • The establishment of a Music Industry Taskforce, with representatives from Government, the business community and industry to help reinvigorate the sector and encourage collaboration;
  • Appointing an IP ‘Tsar’ to consider the impact of IP and copyright legislation and enforcement in both the music and technology industries;
  • The development of advanced training courses for music professionals to focus on ‘business of music’ education, particularly for early career musicians;
  • Establishing a Music Office – Music Ireland – to act as a focal point for the music industry, similar to the Irish Film Board. This office would provide assistance to individuals in the music sector and those looking to enter new overseas markets;
  • Greater support for musicians, many of whom are self-employed, in accessing finance and ensuring that fiscal supports are effective and appropriately structured.

The Irish Music Rights Organisation represents over 10,500 songwriters, composers and music publishers in Ireland and throughout the world.

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