“Musicians’ Fees and Lack of Venues Highlighted at Music Alliance Ireland’s Second Public Meeting”: Meeting of new group took place as part of the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival.

“Musicians’ Fees and Lack of Venues Highlighted at Music Alliance Ireland’s Second Public Meeting”: Meeting of new group took place as part of the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival.

Published by The Journal of Music on 11 July 2022:

The lack of guidelines on rates for musicians and a lack of spaces for music were two of the issues highlighted at the second Music Alliance Ireland meeting, which took place as part of the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival on Sunday 10 July.

The meeting, which took place in the Junction Dome, a temporary performance space set up by the festival, was attended by local musicians and promoters. Speakers included Toner Quinn, Chairperson of Music Alliance Ireland, and Neva Elliott, Project Manager for the new group.

‘We have seen, in a short time, the effectiveness of joining together as a group in highlighting long-standing issues in the music sector,’ Quinn said. ‘We find that there is considerable overlap in the issues faced by musicians and music organisations, regardless of the genre or where they are based.’

At the meeting, the speakers set out the aims and objectives of Music Alliance Ireland and discussed the work undertaken so far. This was followed by an open discussion with those attending. 

Key issues
Local musicians and promoters highlighted how music venues had declined in Clonmel and that there were not enough spaces for performance or collaboration for emerging and established musicians. They also emphasised the need for widely accepted guidelines on rates for musicians, which would help not just musicians but also promoters.

Other matters discussed included young bands not having space for rehearsal, IMRO payments for live music, the VAT rate for band fees, and the need for more comprehensive coverage of music in the national media. There was also discussion on the opportunity to work together to achieve a space for collaborative use. 

MAI members and aims
Music Alliance Ireland was formed at the beginning of the pandemic to establish a collective voice for the music sector and has been involved in a number of advocacy campaigns since.

The current members are the Contemporary Music Centre, Crash Ensemble, Diatribe Records, Improvised Music Company, The Journal of Music, Kirkos Ensemble, Music Network and Trad Ireland/Traid Éireann. The group meets ten times a year and is open to new members. It will shortly be publishing details on how artists and organisations can join.

The group has developed six main aims, as follows:

1. To establish a network and voice for music organisations and musicians;
2. To advocate for support and policies for music at a national level;
3. To work for the establishment of a music hub (a space for rehearsal, collaboration, offices, equipment, recording, storage and performance) in Dublin and equivalent spaces in other centres around Ireland; 
4. To campaign for proper pay for musicians;
5. To further the provision for music from Ireland in Irish broadcasting and media; and
6. To support the development of the independent record label sector.

The group has already published a number of submissions advocating for the music sector, including submissions to the Arts Council’s music policy, the Future of Media Commission, RTÉ Lyric FM, the Dublin City Council Cultural Infrastructural Study, the Dublin City Development Plan, and the Basic Income for the Arts pilot.

The first public meeting took place at the National Concert Hall in April. There will be further public meetings in the autumn.

For further information and updates, sign up to the newsletter at https://musicallianceireland.ie.

For further details, and to sign up to the group’s newsletter, visit https://musicallianceireland.ie

 

Published by The Journal of Music on 11 July 2022

Image credit: The Journal of Music

Music Alliance Ireland at Clonmel Junction Arts Festival

Music Alliance Ireland at Clonmel Junction Arts Festival

Music Alliance Ireland at Clonmel Junction Arts Festival
 
Music Alliance Ireland will host a public meeting at Clonmel Junction Arts Festival on Sunday 10 July at 1pm in the Junction Dome.
 
Following a launch in Dublin in April, Music Alliance Ireland/Comhaontas Ceoil na hÉireann, will host its second meeting at the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival on 10 July.
 
At the meeting in Clonmel, which will take place in the Junction Dome at 1pm, Chairperson Toner Quinn and Project Manager Neva Elliott will speak about the aims of the Alliance and the work undertaken so far. This will be followed by an open discussion on current issues in the music sector in Ireland.
 
Commenting on the meeting, Quinn said:
Our launch meeting at the New Music Dublin festival in April was extremely useful in obtaining feedback from the music sector on the aims and objectives of Music Alliance Ireland. We’re delighted to have our second meeting at the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival and we look forward to hearing the views of more artists and those involved in the music sector and exploring how the Alliance can support the sector into the future. All are welcome.
 

Published by The Journal of Music: ‘There will always be challenges facing music and musicians in Ireland’: Music Alliance Ireland Holds First Public Meeting at National Concert Hall

Published by The Journal of Music: ‘There will always be challenges facing music and musicians in Ireland’: Music Alliance Ireland Holds First Public Meeting at National Concert Hall

 

Published by The Journal of Music on 6 May 2022:

 

‘There will always be challenges facing music and musicians in Ireland’: Music Alliance Ireland Holds First Public Meeting at National Concert Hall

Group plans to host regional meetings in the coming months.
 
 
 
 

 

A new group of national music organisations and companies, Music Alliance Ireland/Comhaontas Ceoil na hÉireann, held its first public meeting on 28 April as part of the New Music Dublin festival at the National Concert Hall.

The group was formed at the beginning of the pandemic to establish a collective voice for the music sector and has been involved in a number of advocacy campaigns since.

The current members are the Contemporary Music Centre, Crash Ensemble, Diatribe Records, Improvised Music Company, The Journal of Music, Kirkos Ensemble, Music Network and Trad Ireland/Traid Éireann. The group meets ten times a year and is open to new members.

The meeting was chaired by musician Nick Roth of Diatribe and project manager Neva Elliott, formerly CEO of Crash Ensemble. Commenting on the reasons for establishing the group, Roth said:

Music Alliance Ireland aspires to be a collective voice for music in Ireland. There will always be challenges facing music and musicians in Ireland. Most recently, we had the pandemic, but before that it was the threat to Lyric FM, and before that it was the difficulties facing the national orchestras. On top of that, we have the perennial issues of low pay for musicians and the difficulty they have in finding places to live in Ireland, the small size of our independent record label sector, the lack of rehearsal space in Dublin, and more. The only way we can address any of these issues for the long term is by joining together.

Music Alliance Ireland was initiated in the spring of 2020 by Elliott and Aoife Concannon of Improvised Music Company, in partnership with the Arts Office of Dublin City Council. The group has since developed six main aims, as follows:

1. To establish a national network and voice for music organisations and musicians in Ireland;
2. To advocate for support and policies for music at a national level;
3. To work for the establishment of a music hub (a space for rehearsal, collaboration, offices, equipment, recording, storage and performance) in Dublin and equivalent spaces in other centres around Ireland;
4. To campaign for proper pay for musicians;
5. To further the provision for music from Ireland in Irish broadcasting and media; and
6. To support the development of the Irish independent record label sector.

The group takes inspiration from the previous MAI – the Music Association of Ireland – which ran from the 1940s to the 2000s, and also had six aims, one of which was the establishment of the National Concert Hall. 

Elliott also spoke about her reasons for initiating the group:

I was previously CEO of Crash Ensemble, and what I wasn’t able to do as one person, and one organisation, was to effect change on the wider ecosystem we existed in. That frustration wasn’t just around making things better for Crash, but also for the artists around us, artists that were our community and coming to me to ask for help and advice. I could see there were opportunities we were missing out on as a sector, and at times we weren’t standing up strongly enough and asking for what we need, or pointing out when things weren’t right for us. I believe in doing things together, that together we can effect that change. 

The group has already published a number of submissions advocating for the music sector, including submissions to the Arts Council’s music policy, the Future of Media Commission, RTÉ Lyric FM, the Dublin City Council Cultural Infrastructural Study, the Dublin City Development Plan, and the Basic Income for the Arts pilot. 

Music Alliance Ireland will be hosting regional meetings in the coming months and will also be publishing details on joining for new members. 

Among those in attendance at the NCH were a number of representatives from member organisations, as well as Robert Read, CEO of the National Concert Hall; Michael Dervan, classical music critic of the Irish Times; Karina Lundstrom of Lundstrom Arts Management; composer Raymond Deane; Dermot O’Callaghan of Sing Ireland; Red Keane of Jazz Ireland; Keith Johnson and Breffni Banks of IMRO; Joe Csibi, General Manager of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Tadhg Kinsella of Dublin Modular; and Majella Hollywood of Chamber Choir Ireland.

For further details, and to sign up to the group’s newsletter, visit https://musicallianceireland.ie

Published by The Journal of Music on 6 May 2022

Image credit: Nick Roth and Neva Elliott speaking at the first Music Alliance Ireland meeting. (Photo: Improvised Music Company)

Auto Draft

Music Alliance Ireland Chairperson Toner Quinn speaks to Ger Sweeney, Presenter of Live on Eire, on Talk Radio Europe, 20 April 2022.

Music Alliance Ireland submission for the Arts Council’s new Music Policy.

Music Alliance Ireland submission for the Arts Council’s new Music Policy.

Context: From artscouncil.ie: “The Arts Council plans to produce a Music Policy and Strategy in 2022 to guide its decision-making in relation to music, and has begun a process of widespread consultation to inform its development..”

What you can do: Sign up to the Music Alliance Ireland mailing list, where we will give further updates.

Submission –

In the following submission, we address the questions as they appeared in the Music Policy survey.

Q9. What do you think are the Arts Council’s key strengths/areas of focus that it should continue and develop?

The Arts Council has a significant impact on music in Ireland and is benefiting many artists organisations. It is now the case that a very wide range of events and artists are receiving support from the Arts Council on some level and this contributes to a culturally vibrant country.

In addition, the range of music events and activities means that Ireland can be an artistically attractive place for artists to locate, and there is a huge return on that Arts Council investment: Irish and international artists make a profound contribution to the quality of our national and community life.

The Arts Council’s agile response during the pandemic was particularly notable and in no small way has ensured continuity through what has been an extremely challenging time for musicians and the music scene.

In particular, we feel that the flexibility of the Agility Award and the Capacity Building Awards sparked many new initiatives and should be continued post-pandemic.

Q10. What do you think are the Arts Council’s weaknesses/areas of focus that need to be improved?

A notable weakness is that there can be little feedback from the Arts Council on work that is produced with Arts Council funding. Nor is there any clear formal mechanism by which funded clients can show work to Council. Connected with this, the MAI believes that the Council should make much greater efforts to promote the work to the public that they have funded.

Regarding awards, for some music projects, short-term funding timescales are a hindrance to more ambitious work and advance planning, i.e. for projects that are more than a year or more away. Ambition needs time and planning. The current award timelines do not represent how long some music projects take to develop and there should be both annual and multi-annual deadlines for awards. Awards should also be broader and cover the lifespan of a project, from inception, development, delivery, distribution and documentation to promotion.

At the same time, for some awards, the reverse is the case: for the Arts Grant award, for example, applicants are asked to plan for future years when they do not yet have feedback on their current year or previous applications.

The MAI also believes that the turnaround for decisions on applications needs to be shorter, i.e. a maximum of two months. With regard to the application process, the AAR and BAAR system is neither intuitive nor user-friendly and we believe this system needs to be overhauled.

More broadly, we believe the Arts Council needs to have a strategic vision and plan for the Irish music sector, specifically with regards to developing the Irish music industry nationally and internationally. Nationally, This includes supporting a national music hub in Dublin, (and in regional centres) developing the neglected independent record label sector, ensuring artists are remunerated appropriately, and helping artists and organisations build an international career or international dimension to their work. Increased strategic links and strategic planning with Culture Ireland for international dissemination of music would benefit the sector.

Q11. What three specific initiatives would you like to see the Arts Council undertake as priorities in the coming years? *

The three initiatives that we would like to see are as follows:

  1. More substantial support for the independent Irish record sector, i.e. a specific record label and recording scheme and a strategic plan for the development of this essential part of the Irish music sector.
  2. Practical support the establishment of a national music hub in  Dublin, (and regionally)  in terms of funding support, advocacy and partnerships.
  3. To create a system whereby music organisations and events are developed in partnership with the Arts Council with clear strategic goals, rather than existing from year to year with little feedback.

Q12 – Arts Council music supports and  genre

With regard to Question 12 in the Arts Council Music Policy survey on the support of different genres, the MAI believes that clear definitions  of ‘commercial’ and ‘non-commercial’ are needed in order to address this question properly.

In general, however, we believe the emphasis in Arts Council Music Policy should be on artistic quality rather than genre and that it should be as inclusive as possible.

Note: Where we refer to ‘music’ in all of the above, we are also including traditional music, although we understand that in the Arts Council’s structure traditional music is formally a part of traditional arts. All of the issues mentioned above are equally relevant to traditional music as they are to jazz, classical, contemporary, opera, popular, hip hop, etc.

Our members would be happy to discuss further any of the points above

Image: Courtesy of Improvised Music Company. [Izumi Kimura (piano), Cora Venus Lunny (violin) at Jazz Connective. PHOTO Maarit Kytoharju]