Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Government cash markets Irish film – why not music?

Last week, a feature in this paper examined how Irish films had performed in their home market. As the piece by Ted Sheehy noted, box office returns have been mixed for films backed with marketing funds from the Irish Film …

Fri, Jun 11, 2010, 10:19

   

Last week, a feature in this paper examined how Irish films had performed in their home market.

As the piece by Ted Sheehy noted, box office returns have been mixed for films backed with marketing funds from the Irish Film Board.

Sheehy outlined some surprisingly large tranches of cash given as marketing support to some Irish films.

Non-repayable grants of €75,000, €50,000 and €75,000 were awarded to the distributors of Perrier’s Bounty, Ondine and Zonad.

Unfortunately, this marketing spend did not work. According to the Film Board’s own website, Zonad spent just two weeks in the Irish Top 20 chart, earning €33,848 in box office receipts in this time. Even the film’s producer and distributor described its performance as “disappointing”.

Although it’s something of an academic exercise given the predictable failure of the Music Board of Ireland a few years ago, it is worth considering how similar largesse might have energised the domestic music sector.

Even a fraction of this marketing spend would have been hugely beneficial to acts with new albums or tours to sell. Imagine, for instance, if some of that marketing cash had been available to augment the efforts which went into hawking recent Irish releases by Cathy Davey, Villagers and R.S.A.G., to name just three 2010 albums.

There is an argument that many acts already have access to non-governmental cash (and many acts are also doing quite well without it), but this argument can also be applied to the film sector.

The problem for the music sector that there’s no-one to make their case. The failure of the Music Board of Ireland to do anything of note during their tenure, bar producing more useless reports, means that situation is unlikely to change in the near future.

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