REM qualifies as Irish music for airplay
Musicians have reacted with bewilderment to the revelation that REM’s new album Accelerate will be accepted as ‘Irish music’ by the BCI.
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 13 Mar 2008
Independent stations regulated by the BCI, have an obligation to play agreed levels – in most cases 30% – of Irish music.
The album was recorded in Grouse Lodge Studios, which is the factor that qualifies it as ‘Irish’.
This extraordinary position was confirmed at the session on Airplay For Irish Music, chaired by Hot Press editor Niall Stokes at the IBI conference in Dublin last week.
“The definition of what constitutes Irish music has been a concern for some time,” one industry insider told Hot Press. “Now that this has been clarified, we can see if it is possible to change it.”
The position, which has shocked many musicians and independent record companies, emerged during the question and answer session, which followed a series of presentations made on Airplay for Irish Music by Niall Stokes, BCI chief executive Michael O’Keeffe, Colm O’Sullivan of Red FM, Dave Pennefather of Universal Music Ireland, Dave Kelly of FM 104, Feilim Byrne of Music Control and musician and songwriter Steve Wall of The Walls.
Asked by Niall Stokes about definitions of Irish music, members of the panel reported that tracks recorded in Dublin by Kylie Minogue were counted as Irish music by certain stations. Asked was this acceptable to the BCI, Michael O’Keeffe confirmed that it was. “It’s supporting the Irish music industry,” he said. Minogue recorded a number of tracks for her Fever album in Dublin’s Windmill Lane, including the title track and the hit single ‘Love At First Sight’.
Steve Wall’s reaction at the time was characteristic of the reaction of musicians generally. “I’m speechless,” he said. “That’s the first time I heard that.”
What is widely regarded as the most successful quota system in the world is operated in Canada, and the fact that a track was recorded in Canada counts towards inclusion within the quota. However, crucially, it is only one of four criteria, at least two of which must be fulfilled.
For more on the airplay for Irish music issue, see The Message, pages 13 and 130 in the latest Hot Press. For more on the IBI conference, see The Phantom, page 127.