Songwriters and bands get a share in €37.7 million royalties bonanza

Bands including Boyzone and The Corrs along with hundreds of others shared a €37.7m bonanza last year from the public performance and broadcast of their songs.

Yesterday, the Irish Music Rights Organisation that collects royalties on behalf of the artists, confirmed that revenues at the organisation totalled €36.5m last year — a drop of 4% on 2010.

Chief executive of Imro, Victor Finn, confirmed €37.7m was paid to its members last year.

However, he declined to state what the top amounts were as he said that would identify the artists.

Imro’s performance last year was “satisfactory when you consider the harsh economic conditions”, he said adding the 4% drop in revenues “is less than it could’ve been”.

Mr Finn said Imro charges range from a €150 annual licence fee for a hairdressing salon to 3% of the door receipts at Dublin’s O2.

Last year, performances at the O2 grossed €36.2m with the vast proportion of revenues generated by musicians, with a small portion generated by Cirque du Soleil and comedians where Imro royalty payments do not apply.

Mr Finn said royalties received from Imro are the sole income for non-performing song writers.

Imro’s employee numbers remained steady at 50 last year and Mr Finn said total expenses represented 12% of revenues.

He said over the past four years, Imro has managed to reduce its overheads by just under €1m.

The figures confirm Imro received €13.5m through public performances last year; €11.6m from cable and satellite broadcasts; €7.3m from RTÉ, TG4 and independent and television broadcasters, and €3.7m from overseas revenues.

Imro is a not for profit organisation and music users such as broadcasters, venues and businesses must pay for their use of copyright music by way of a blanket licence fee.

Founding member of Moving Hearts and Imro chairman, Keith Donald said the “ongoing economic downturn continues to pose challenges”.

“In 2012 our focus will be to maintain 2011 revenue levels, continue a review of our licensing schemes, grow online revenue, enforce rights on behalf of our members via an effective office base and on-the- ground presence, and via a rigorous defence of members’ copyrights.”

Mr Finn also said Imro welcomed new laws “giving copyright owners the right to take injunctive proceedings against third parties in the event that infringement acts are committed on their networks”.

He said: The future for music is in broadcast, online, on mobile and cloud platforms, all of which offer growth prospects.”

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