Irish musicians share €32.4m royalties bonanza

Paul Brady: IMRO board member

Musicians including U2, Paul Brady and Christy Moore, along with thousands of other Irish musicians, last year shared €32.4m from the public performance and broadcast of their songs.

This follows the Irish Music Rights Organisation — which collects royalties on behalf of the artists concerned — confirming that licence revenues last year increased by €379,178, or over 1%, to €36.8m.

The IMRO directors’ report states that “public performance and overseas revenue contributed largely to this increase”.

The amount in royalties paid out to artists last year increased from €32.15m to €32.42m. The organisation has 8,500 members.

However, the figures show that IMRO is in a deficit position following its spend on a refurbishment to its Copyright House on Dublin’s Lower Baggott St in 2008.

The organisation was sitting on an accumulated deficit of €2m at the end of last year.

The organisation’s directors’ report states that IMRO has a net excess of liabilities over current assets and “this is primarily as a result of the refurbishment of Copyright House in 2008 from existing resources as opposed to bank borrowings”. The accounts for the previous year show IMRO incurred a €524,693 write-down on its Copyright House property in 2011.

The accounts show that IMRO was last year hit with another exceptional charge — this time relating to a €454,689 cost “incurred as a result of the referral to the Controller of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks”.

A €2.1m actuarial loss on IMRO’s pension scheme also contributed to the organisation’s overall deficit position at the end of Dec 31.

IMRO is a not-for-profit organisation and last year its surplus after paying out royalties amounted to €93,410, compared with €105,150 in 2011.

The royalties received from IMRO are often the sole income of non-performing song writers.

IMRO generates its royalties from a broad range of sources –—from the music played to phone callers when put on hold — to a low percentage of revenues at the O2 arena in Dublin.

Firms face an annual tariff of between €96 to €144 for playing music on multiple lines for callers when they are put on hold, while doctors and dentists face an annual tariff of between €70 to €158 for playing recorded music in their waiting rooms.

Retailers face charges ranging from €143 to a tariff of €2,349 for retailers with floor space of 10,000 sq metres.

Numbers employed by IMRO last year increased from 48 to 51, with staff costs increasing from €2.94m to €3.2m. Operating costs as a percentage of revenue amounted to 12.2% — a reduction of 12.8% recorded in 2011.

Remuneration for IMRO directors last year decreased from €211,428 to €201,743. The board is made up of 15 directors which includes a number of artists such as Paul Brady, Eleanor McEvoy, and Charlie McGettigan.

A note attached to the accounts show that royalties paid by the organisation to directors of IMRO and to parties related to them amounted to €280,159.


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