Sunday 19 May 2019

IMRO calls for closure of EU loophole allowing platforms like YouTube and Facebook to stream music for free

Musician Steve Wall of The Stunning said he received just 97p from Google in December 2016

The Stunning
The Stunning
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is calling for the closure of a loophole in EU Legislation which allows major streaming platforms like YouTube to stream music for free.

They say these sites pose a serious threat to the future of the Irish music industry, with artists seeing very little of the Revenue that their music generates for Internet giants like Google. 

A new report published today by IMRO found that music contributes more than €703m to the Irish economy and it's a growing sector, supporting more than 13,000 jobs. 

But it also found that digital revenues of €16.3m exceeded physical revenues of €16m for the first time ever.

Although subscription services like Spotify and Netflix are going some way in addressing the imbalance, giving revenue back to the industry, these have 60m monthly active users. This pales into comparison when up against platform services like Facebook and YouTube which have 600m users. 

Musician Steve Wall of the Stunning said that he received just 97p (sterling) from Google in December 2016. This was for December 2016 for 330 streams of his band's biggest hit, 'Brewing up a Storm'. 

The same song yielded him just £11.80 from Spotify for a total of 37,000 Streams. 

He said the current climate made it extremely hard for even established musicians to make a living from the industry and that touring was often the best way to generate revenue. 

IMRO is now calling for the development of a National Music Strategy to help develop Ireland's indigenous music industry and support small businesses. 

It has already started lobbying the European Parliament in a bid to have the issue of copyright addressed and create a fair share of revenue for music creators. 

As it stands, sites like YouTube and Facebook don't have to pay for user uploaded content as it claims they are "technical intermediaries" that aren't required to remunerate creators. 

"A focus on copyright should represent a core element of this National Music Strategy," said IMRO CEO Victor Finn. 

"Ensuring creators receive compensation for all uploads of their work is crucial to establishing a sustainable basis for the music industry going forward." 

He said IMRO have already started meeting with TD's and Senators and have received a favourable response to their proposals. 

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