Irish musicians who want to get paid face a war on many fronts

Royalties worth more than €25.3m were earned by Irish artists last year

Irish musicians who want to get paid face a war on many fronts

Charles Sykes AP/Press Association Images

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) paid out royalties worth more than €25m to Irish musicians in 2015 - that's an 8.5% increase on the previous year.

IMRO represents 11,000 artists, its royalties are most of these musicians' main source of income, away from money made through live performances.

The organisation collected €30.7m in licence revenues - that's up from €28m last year.

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Chairman Keith Donald welcomed the increase in income - but warned that Irish musicians face serious challenges:

"We must not let a good set of accounts make us in any way complacent. For the medium and long-term best interests of composers, lyricists and songwriters, IMRO continues fighting for the protection of copyright.

"This is a war on many fronts: legislatures in Dublin and Brussels, specialist business media, the vested interests of some multi-nationals, and some individuals and organisations that purport to represent consumers’ interests. If consumers are encouraged to expect access to music at no cost, there will eventually be nobody willing to work for nothing and the well of creativity will run dry," he stated.

European artists are in a long running dispute fighting against an exemption which allows business owners in the US to use music for free through radio and TV services - a recent report from the International Council of Creators of Music warned that European artists are losing out on $44m per year.

IMRO collects money from a wide range of music usage - from commercial broadcasters playing Irish music to music being piped into doctor's waiting rooms and cafes.

Its CEO, Victor Finn says that the improving economy has heralded an increase in income from local and national broadcasters - and added that "online royalties are at last having a visible impact on our revenue lines."

He believes that there are opportunities for digital revenue to continue to grow as consumers switch to subscription streaming services such as Netflix.

Hozier, The Script, Gavin James, Little Green Cars, James Vincent McMorrow, Walking on Cars, Coronas, Villagers, and Soak are highlighted as a new established names joining seasoned earners such as U2.