Restaurateurs criticise dual music licences

Restaurateurs have criticised plans to issue a single licence to business owners allowing them to play music on their premises. They say the development is useless if licences aren’t cheaper.

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI) announced plans to issue a dual licence, which would replace the one currently required from each of their respective organisations.

The new system comes into effect early next year.

IMRO chief executive Victor Finn said the dual licence would streamline the process for businesses and reduce administrative costs.

A current IMRO 5% discount will extend to those business owners who sign up to the dual licence, who have not been paying by direct debit and now opt to do so. A 5% discount will also be extended to new PPI licensees who apply for the licence.

The dual document will not, however, reduce the price of the licence. Reacting to the plans, Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) chief executive Adrian Cummins, rubbished any potential benefits and referred to profiteering on behalf of the two organisations.

Mr Cummins said he was disappointed that there would be no savings for restaurant owners, and he added that there had been no communication with the RAI prior to the announcement.

The average cost of a licence for a small retailer is about €300 per annum, while a 40-seat restaurant will pay €380 under the current licensing arrangements, Mr Finn said.

The IMRO took in licensing revenue of €38m in 2013, an increase of €36.8m on the previous year.

The organisation paid out €33.8m in royalties and had a surplus for the year of €139,252.

Meanwhile, the PPI received €10.4m in the same year and paid artists and performers €2.93m, with an additional €5.6m distributed to member companies.


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