There is a Facebook group set up if you support the bands.
I’ve left my own comments on both of these – hugely comprehensive – blog posts, along with most of the blogging fraternity in Ireland, so I won’t repeat too much of what I’ve said. The latest news though is that Nialler9, Darragh and Shane are meeting with IMRO next week, and I am seriously hoping that IMRO are willing to engage with them openly and honestly – because in a way the three guys are representing all Irish music bloggers in that meeting. Eh, no pressure then. But seriously, they all run popular blogs and are all representative of different styles of blogging, which I think is a great thing.
Sadly, it seems that the idea that music blogging is different for every blogger and blog has bypassed some people. Although it may feel like an invention that has always been part of our lives, the internet is in actuality a rather new phenomenon, and so the ‘rules and regulations’ of blogging in particular are not yet set in stone. In one way this is great – it shows how the internet opens up the world of communication to different people who want to communicate in different and often disparate ways.
The great thing about blogging is that you can do whatever the hell you want with it, and go as far as you want with it. Myself and Niall are both huge music nerds and we both express our love of music differently through our very different blogs. I’m over the moon if 100 people visit mine a day; there’s no question that 1000s visit his. Yet we both co-exist happily in the Irish music blogging scene.
Blogs benefit both their owners and their readers – people have gotten book and film deals from blogging; legends like Roger Ebert have found a new voice – literally – through blogging; and bands have gained fans, record deals and gigs thanks to being promoted on blogs.
As I’ve tried to illustrate here, every blog is different – yet reading an article like this one in Hotpress could make some readers think that many bloggers make quite a decent amount of money, and perhaps are being a bit petulant in going up against IMRO in their calls for bloggers to pay fees to host music. While both sides of this debate are represented in this article, it still left a sour taste in my mouth. I’ll leave it up to you readers to decide what you think about it, but for me it says a lot that the final three paragraphs, of negative opinions about music bloggers, are ascribed to an unnamed musician: (I’ve taken the liberty of putting some choice comments in bold)
Comments another IMRO songwriter member: “Look, it isn’t exactly a popular thing to say, but the fact is that bloggers are part of the real economy. In lots of cases they’re looking for and accepting payment for advertising. And to generate the traffic which attracts advertising they’re indiscriminately using other people’s music – often international music and often by big name artists.
“I’m all for people being able to waive any royalties they might be due, if they want to. I might do it myself. But that’s different from someone deciding they’ll take whatever music they want, and do whatever they feel like with it with no permission from anybody.
“People take a simplistic view of things because it suits their own commercial agenda,” he adds. “If bloggers are allowed to indiscriminately use music free, then radio stations will be next, saying, ‘Why should we pay?’ There’s far too much at stake in the world of copyright to allow the vested interests of a few bloggers – not to mention a few hairdressers or publicans – to dictate.”
Bloggers, part of the ‘real economy’? If this person means that bloggers help some bands sell more records and get a few more heads at their gigs, then yes, they are contributing to the economy. But how many music bloggers really make a huge amount of money – or money that isn’t immediately eaten up by their server fees?
As for the intimation that all bloggers routinely take music without permission and post it on their blogs? Of course there are plenty of blogs out there worldwide that illegally take albums and offer them for downoad – and I am sure there may be some Irish blogs that do that too. But the main blogs in Ireland, and any that I am aware of myself, do not do that. They either host songs that were given to them by labels or bands (even a small blog like this gets offered songs every day of the week) or songs that were linked by other websites.
If we’re talking about Irish bands and Irish music here, then I am angered that an Irish musician could think that blogs do anything but promote Irish music. I take umbrage at the fact this – nameless, of course – person could suggest that bloggers take music, use it as they please, and then refuse to acknowledge or reward the band in some sense.
Let’s get things straight – any bloggers who have commented on this IMRO situation do not resent the fact that bands or musicians own their own music and should be able to protect their copyright. None of us want to leave bands out of pocket or mis-use their music. And guess what? The bands that are featured on the top Irish music blogs are generally not big-name bands that make a lot of money. In turn, many of us run our blogs on our own time, make no money from them, and are offered music by these bands who know that by giving the music to us, they may reach a bigger audience (no matter how humble the blog). If I thought that by putting a song by Squarehead (and yes, I do have a song by him that I have ready to put up here) on this blog then I could make him a few quid, I would gladly pay it. But from what I can see, I have no guarantee that if I pay €175 to IMRO this year that any of this money will go directly to him.
This situation needs to be clarified, and fast. Because many of us are confused about these fees and are at a loss as to how a blanket fee could be applied to blogs of different sizes, who offer different music and have differing levels of readership. There isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to this. The only thing that is clear is that there are many musicians out there who are happy to use blogs to promote their music, and many bloggers who are happy to promote these bands. Neither wants to pull a fast one on the other.
But right now we’re in murky waters: we need someone to take the oars and sail us in the right direction, and fast.
What do YOU think about this situation?