Music News: Irish Music Blogs Under Attack Over Royalties
The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) has moved against several of the country’s MP3 blogs, demanding licences that threaten to shut down some of Ireland‘s most-respected music sites. Sites including Nialler9 and the Torture Garden have been asked to pay hundreds of pounds annually to continue sharing songs â€“ most of which are sent to them by the artists and labels themselves.
So far, IMRO has contacted only three blogs, but it plans to widen its net â€“ requiring licences for any site that offers song downloads/streams and “is made available in Ireland”.
Dublin-based journalist Niall Byrne, writer for the Nialler9, said:
“Let me get this absolutely straight. I have no problem paying artists royalties if that is required.”
For Byrne, there are two issues. First, that most of the downloads on his site are provided by artists, labels and their PR companies. “Like many I thought that MP3s that were cleared by bands and labels for promo were provided as is â€“ gratis and without any attachments or additional requirements … Y’know, the same way an entire music blogosphere and a digital PR industry has been allowed to grow up over the course of the last 10 years.” In the five years Byrne has been blogging, he says “not one band … has ever mentioned IMRO or royalties to me when asking me to post their music”.
The second issue is that IMRO’s blanket licence â€“ the Limited Online Exploitation Licence â€“ “doesn’t take into account the size of a blog or site”. While a site like his would owe Â£300-600 per year to continue, even tiny sites must pay at least â‚¬150 (Â£130) annually. “Lumping [in] a music blogger who blogs from home in his spare time … with a professional company is wrong,” he wrote. “It will have a destructive effect on the promotion of music online as many bloggers won’t be able to afford these fees and as a result bands will have less of an outlet to promote their music.”