Music industry in Ireland – Victor Finn: “Acting now to protect Irish music will benefit culture, tourism and the economy in the long run”

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As part of our special feature on the impact of Covid-19 on the Irish music industry, Victor Finn, CEO of IMRO, shares his thoughts and looks to the future …

Victor finn

How has the impact of Covid-19 affected your business at IMRO?
Our main focus at IMRO since the onset of the pandemic crisis has been to ensure that royalty payments to members and affiliates are accelerated. This has been successfully achieved.

In April 2020, we introduced monthly distributions for our radio broadcast pools, which were previously paid quarterly, so royalties can reach members faster.

It is important to note that we have also achieved significant cost savings through the introduction of company-wide cost containment measures.

However, IMRO will continue to face significant challenges ahead. There has been an inevitable drop in public performance royalty payments during the second half of 2020 due to entertainment venue closures and this will continue through 2021. IMRO works closely with all of our licensees. license to help them through the ongoing series of closures and reopening phases, to ensure that any negative effect on license revenues is minimized.

Many of your members have been hit hard …

They were hit hard. However, IMRO has continued to support its members through a number of initiatives and support programs:

• The Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund was established by IMRO, IRMA and supported by Spotify to help music creators who are currently in greatest financial need.
• IMRO has set up a dedicated helpdesk. As a result, we have been able to assist members on a range of issues.
• We have created a tips and resources section on the IMRO website which is updated regularly.
• We have also provided ongoing support and funding to organizations such as the Irish Association of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (IASCA), Screen Composers Guild of Ireland, the Association of Irish Composers (AIC) and the Music Publishers Association of Ireland, among others. .
• We continued to schedule member development seminars and workshops which are now offered online.

Mental health has been a huge issue for a lot of people involved in music. What has been your experience in this regard?

We are participating in the upfront and ongoing funding of Minding Creative Minds, a 24/7 free wellness and support program that has been accelerated to launch in response to Covid-19.

The initial phase of Minding Creative Minds was aimed at musicians, songwriters, artist managers and event production teams. In December 2020, the Department for Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism, Sport and the Gaeltacht announced financial support for the initiative which further expands the service to help the entire Irish creative sector . It starts with a dedicated 24/7 phone line, but it is a large, far-reaching program that should be a lifeline for all members of the creative community who are struggling.

Is there anything else positive that can be done for songwriters and songwriters?

IMRO lobbied government and policymakers for additional support for the creative community. The music industry contributes over 700 million euros to the Irish economy each year and more than 13,000 people in Ireland work in the music industry. Acting now to protect Irish music will benefit culture, tourism and the economy in the long run.

More specifically, we have called on the Irish government to:

• Set up an emergency aid system to come to the aid of authors, composers, performers and teams unable to work during the crisis.
• Support creators who are struggling with cash flow through the EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.
• Ensure that authors, composers and performers are included in any definition of an SME for all packages introduced.

We also asked the Joint Oireachtas Committee to form a stakeholder group to advise the government on the safe reopening of the sites. This requires action now, so that all actors in the sector can plan accordingly.

We have also called for the rapid introduction of the European Copyright Directive to be transposed into Irish law as it is currently framed.

Finally, the Arts & Culture working group, formed in September, is chaired by Clare Duignan, IMRO board member, and also includes IMRO president Eleanor McEvoy. The task force warned that there is a real risk that Ireland will emerge from Covid-19 to see its arts, culture and events sectors decimated, with some venues closed for good, many businesses closed , a large number of artists and skilled and talented workers gone to other careers and much of the experience and creativity of the vanished sectors. IMRO fully supports the recommendation that the government take decisive action to support the long-term recovery of the creative sector, including the provision of a ‘Universal Basic Income’ (UBI) for the creative community in Ireland.

Useful contacts

IMRO member assistance service:
E: [email protected]
Phone. : +353 1 661484
www.mindingcreativeminds.ie
Dedicated 24/7 telephone line (Telephone 1 800 814 244) (Call from NI – 0800 0903677)
www.imro.ie/music-creators/advice-resources-for-music-creators-during-coronavirus-outbreak/

• Victor Finn is Managing Director of the Irish Music Rights Organization (IMRO).

“The music industry in Ireland: where to go? Is a special feature in the current issue of Hot Press, over 20 pages, featuring music industry professionals as well as artists such as Moya Brennan, Jess Kav, Luka Bloom, Fia Moon, Kneecap, Gavin Glass, Mick Flannery, King Kong Company, Mary Coughlan, Rosie Carney and many more.

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