All Change

The more eagle-eyed regular readers amongst you might have noticed some changes around here over the last few days. I’ve been meaning to change the theme for a while now, but nothing really grabbed me until I saw that WordPress had put up this new one called Twenty Ten. It’s got a simple look and has a customisable header, background and loads of other stuff. Let me know what you think

Of course, there may be even more changes afoot for Irish music bloggers if IMRO has anything to do with it. IMRO is the Irish Music Rights Organisation that represents all songwriters and performers and their main role is to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of its members for music played on radio, television and at venues and businesses around Ireland. This week, IMRO has sent out a letter to the owners of three Irish music blogs informing them of its decision to start charging all blogs that make music available for downloading or streaming within Ireland. You can read what Nialler 9, The Torture Garden and Asleep on the Compost Heap have to say at their respective sites. The issue has also been covered by Hot Press and The Irish Times and has even made it as far as The Guardian. Niall (Nialler 9), Shane (The Torture Garden) and Darragh (Asleep on the Compost Heap) will be meeting with representatives from IMRO this week and I join other Irish bloggeers in wishing them the best of luck

Under the terms of this license fee for blog services in Ireland, blogs that earn 7,000 euro or under per annum are entitled to pay an annual fee of up to 750 euro plus VAT for the right to feature music on their site. Like the bloggers named above, I agree that composers and musicians are entitled to be paid for their work. I’m fully in favour of radio stations and music venues paying an annual fee for music they play because they are making a profit from this music anyway. I also think it’s fair that big businesses that allow music to be played on their premises for the benefit of their staff and customers should also pay this fee as they can afford this cost

Like most of the bloggers affected by this ruling, I do not make any profit from my blog. In fact, it actually costs me money to run it. In addition to giving up my free time, I spend a fair bit of money on CDs, DVDs and going to gigs througout the year. In this way, I have contributed quite a substantial amount of money to IMRO over the years, just like every music fan in Ireland. I agree that something needs to be done about the worldwide epidemic of illegal downloading, but charging music fans who blog as a hobby isn’t the way to do it. Here’s a cover of a song by Keane from a singer who announced last year that she will no longer produce new music until things change. A belated happy burthday to Lily Allen who turned 25 yesterday

Everybody’s Changing (Keane cover) – Lily Allen

Image courtesy of Wikipedia