Rights body pays €34m to artists


THE IRISH Music Rights Organisation (Imro) last year increased royalty payments to recording artists by 7 per cent to €34.2 million despite incurring large legal costs in pursuing high-profile debts.

Revenues at Imro increased by 6 per cent to €39.2 million, according to accounts just filed.

Some of the company’s 12 directors include Irish artists Paul Brady, Eleanor McEvoy and Christy Moore. The directors were paid an aggregate €190,551 in royalties, the accounts show.

Last year the rights body took a Commercial Court case against Pod Concerts over the non-payment of royalties but the case was settled with Pod agreeing to pay Imro €216,000.

The directors do not refer directly to the case in the accounts, but in a note attached, they confirm that an exceptional cost was incurred last year of €456,923 “due to legal costs of pursuing high-profile debts, recruitment fees and professional fees in relation to tariff reviews”.

The organisation was back in the Commercial Court this year over the alleged failure of several cinemas to pay it music royalties between 2005 and 2008.

The exceptional cost last year resulted in Imro’s operating expenses increasing by 8 per cent to €5.59 million.

After the payment of €34.2 million to its artists, Imro had a surplus of €250,852. The company’s income was also boosted by interest payments of €583,851.

The directors state that broadcast and public performance-related licence revenue contributed largely to the increase in revenues. The company’s operating costs increased by 8.7 per cent.

A not-for-profit organisation, Imro has 5,000 members and collects payments for artists by charging music users such as broadcasters, venues and businesses a licence fee and then distributing the payments to the copyright owners.