I just want to react to the ongoing attack on Irish Music blogs by IMRO.
As it stands, only 4 blogs (Nialler9 being one of them has made a very clear post about the whole issue which you should refer to) have been issued with warnings to pay a new LOEL fee in order to have the right to provide downloads/streams of music from their blogs to music by bands registered with IMRO. This however is set to be extended to all blogs and websites where IMRO artists are being promoted by a download link or stream of their music.
The most ridiculous problem with this action by IMRO is that even record companies promoting their own artists on their websites are obliged to pay this fee. Regardless of the fact that they own the music by contract! Furthermore even IMRO artists who promote their own music on their own websites will have to pay the fee - while the organisations heart is in the right place by protecting the rights of their artists their stance is completely counter-productive in an already dying industry.
I have been getting together my application to join IMRO in the last week when I saw this issue arise on the Irish music scene. My position is now very much on the fence in regard to whether i should become a member of an organisation that is hell bent on stemming the growth of an independent underground music scene in Ireland. As an artist i am determined to protect my music from being exploited and would want to receive any royalties that I deserve from airtime on commercial radio stations/television/websites etc.. however as a blogger/radio presenter/DJ I understand that music is about collaboration, co-operation and networking with other artists. I have promoted music from lesser known artists both Irish and International via my Black Box Podcasts with dirtyradio and through my blog for over a year now, and in every instance I have sought the permission of the artist (often unsigned) to play their music. Never have i been asked to pay royalty fees or have i been asked to contact IMRO or any other similar organisation in order to pay for the right to play the music. This is because both I and the artist know that everybody is to gain from having the music provided in a radio show or blog... all publicity is good publicity!
IMRO have missed the ball completely on this issue, their actions are likened to that of the Spanish Inquisition hunting down innocent blogs who are simply trying to do their part to let the Irish music scene grow naturally and creatively.
So I will stop and think very hard about joining an organisation that insists on destroying everything good about music in Ireland.
If you agree with my stance on this you can join a facebook group to vent your anger at IMRO... also there is lots more to read on the issue from the blogs currently involved and an article from the Observer here...
Surely there is something we can do?