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Illegal downloading and recession led to "hollowing out" of Irish music industry

A new report from IMRO details how the industry can begin to recover.

Source: IrishMusicRightsOrg/YouTube

THE IRISH MUSIC industry has faced massive challenges in the past few years, driven by technological advances, the internet, and the recession.

Now a new report by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) details how the music industry is fighting back and contributing both value and jobs to the Irish economy.

It also sets out recommendations to help boost the positive impact the industry can have for Ireland.

It says that in the four years to 2012, recorded music sales fell from €72m to €33m per annum. One area that has grown is digital sales, which jumped from €8m to €13m between 2008 and 2012.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimates that 27% of internet users in Europe visit at least one unlicensed music site monthly.

There was a “hollowing out of the core” of the music industry in recent years, a representative from Deloitte, which compiled the report, said at today’s launch.

What can be done?

Brian Kennedy and Sharon C Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The ambitious new report, which can be read here, says that the industry ” is struggling to realise its full potential”, despite a number of overseas successes.

It sets out a number of recommendations to help boost the industry, adding that this would require “increased cooperation” across the board.

This includes the establishment of a Music Industry Taskforce, and Music Office called Music Ireland to help encourage a new breed of Hoziers and Kodalines.

IMRO has been in talks with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht about the taskforce, and says that it received a “positive response” to the idea.

Music Ireland would be aimed at newer musicians who want to take a stab at entering the music business correctly.

In addition, given the challenges facing musicians and songwriters due to copyright legislation and intellectual property, IMRO wants an IP Tsar established to tackle this issue.

But it assured that its focus isn’t on taking legal action against illegal downloading, but rather boosting the benefits of streaming on legal sites, such as Spotify, for musicians.

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It also wants advanced training courses to help music professionals focus on the business of music, and more collaboration between music, tourism, gaming and technology sectors.

IMRO also says that the government should ensure that tax relief for people in the music industry is efficient and effective.

Hozier - iTunes Festival 2014 - London Source: David Jensen

The report, which was compiled by Deloitte, says that the Irish music industry contributes over €470m to the economy and supports more than 11,510 jobs in Ireland, 9,030 direct and 2,480 indirect.

Singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy said: “Being a music creator is an actual proper job, and this should be recognised, rewarded and assisted through all possible channels.”

“We are at an exciting juncture for Irish music and now is the time to ascertain how we can support, grow and reinvigorate the industry,” said Chair of IMRO, Keith Donald.

The full report is available here. TheJournal.ie will take a deeper look at this subject over the coming weekend.

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