Irish artists get share of €26m royalties bonanza

Artists including U2, Hozier, and Christy Moore along with thousands of other Irish artists last year shared a €26.32m bonanza from the public performance and broadcast of their songs.

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) — which collects royalties on behalf of the artists concerned — confirmed licence revenues last year increased by €580,000 going from €30.79m to €31.37m.

IMRO’s directors’ report states that while all revenue categories showed an increase on 2015, general public performance, online revenue, and overseas revenue contributed largely to the increase.

The amount in royalties paid out to artists last year increased by 4% going from €25.26m to €26.32m.

In his report, chief executive Victor Finn said royalty revenues for the year 2016 were well ahead of expectations — over 5% better than budget and 2% ahead of 2015.

The revenues from online increased by 29% last year with public performance increasing by 1% on 2015.

The directors state that the royalty payout increase is as a result of increased activity.

IMRO has 11,000 members and is a not-for-profit organisation. Last year, its surplus after paying out royalties amounted to €64,937 and this followed a surplus of €137,895 in 2015.

The royalties received from IMRO are often the sole income received by non-performing songwriters.

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 Three Arena in Dublin.

Firms face tariffs for playing music on multiple lines for callers when they are put on hold, while doctors and dentists face annual tariffs from playing recorded music in their waiting rooms.

Numbers employed by IMRO last year increased from 51 to 52 with staff costs increasing from €3.21m to €3.29m.

Remuneration for IMRO’s directors last year decreased from €263,220 to €260,734.

The board is made up of 15 directors that include a number of artists such as Mick Hanly, 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 €140,698.


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