Digital sales more profitable for musicians than CDs and records

IMRO chairwoman Eleanor McEvoy

Irish musicians are now earning more from digital revenue than physical sales of CDs and records.

According to a new report by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), 2015 saw the first increase in global music sales in nearly two decades, with digital revenues overtaking physical revenues for the first time.

This was mirrored in Ireland where digital revenues in that year at €16.3m surpassed physical revenues at €16m for the first time. Growth in streaming revenues was particularly pronounced and also overtook downloads for the first time in 2015.

The report — an update on a Deloitte/ IMRO 2015 analysis of the annual contribution made by the music industry to Ireland’s economy — found that the music industry here supports more than 13,000 jobs and contributes around €703m to the economy directly and indirectly.

It sets out recommendations to maximise the contribution of music in Ireland, including the development of a national music strategy.

This strategy focuses on four key areas:

  • The establishment of a cross-party music grouping to work with a cross-sectoral industry advisory panel to address barriers to growth in the sector;
  • Concentration on copyright to help ensure a fair return for music creators — crucial at a time when the music copyright landscape has changed utterly as a result of technology and the extremely low level of return to writers and performers from platform services like YouTube;
  • Compensation that is adequate to address income uncertainty associated with work in the creative and cultural industries.

IMRO chairwoman Eleanor McEvoy said that beyond its social and cultural value, it is clear that music is a vital driver of the economy.

“I am pleased to present this report and to further shine a light on our members’ contribution — those music creators who write and perform musical works — to Ireland’s economy.

“If we are to continue to maintain and grow the success of Ireland’s music industry, and increase its economic and social contribution, now is the time for the development of a National Music Strategy,” she said.

Ms McEvoy said the strategy will not require a huge investment but that small, incremental steps “would make a huge difference” and pointed out that IMRO is keen to work with Government to push the process forward.

CEO of IMRO, Victor Finn, said the establishment of a dedicated national music strategy would help to further develop Ireland’s indigenous music industry, boost growth in regional Ireland and support small businesses and local economies: “A focus on copyright should represent a core element of this national music strategy.

“An environment that fosters growth for new and legitimate businesses, including platforms such as YouTube, SoundCloud and Facebook, while providing legal certainty for consumers, and ensuring that this is paired with appropriate remuneration for creators, is needed.

“Ensuring creators receive compensation for all uploads of their work is crucial to establishing a sustainable basis for the music industry,” he said.


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