'What we can do is make sure that the voice of the music community is heard': Music Alliance Ireland Open for New Members

'What we can do is make sure that the voice of the music community is heard': Music Alliance Ireland Open for New Members

Umbrella group held its sixth public meeting at the New Music Dublin festival at the National Concert Hall on 21 April.

Music Alliance Ireland/Comhaontas Ceoil na Éireann, the newly formed umbrella group for the music sector in Ireland, has announced that it is now open for new members

The group hosted its sixth public meeting last week (21 April), at the New Music Dublin festival at the National Concert Hall, and launched its membership application process, which is open to individuals and organisations involved in music in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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 has been involved in a number of advocacy campaigns since it was formed. It has published various 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.

Speaking at the NCH meeting, Chair Toner Quinn said:

Music Alliance Ireland aspires to be a collective voice for music in Ireland, that is, a group that will speak up for the sector. There will always be challenges facing music in Ireland that no one person or one organisation can hope to deal with or resolve on their own. Our experience is that the way to address the myriad of issues facing music and musicians is by joining together. One of the positive experiences we have had since we began is that simply by being united we are able to start becoming part of important conversations very quickly.

Network of knowledge sharing
MAI member and director of Diatribe Records Nick Roth said that becoming a member means individuals and organisations became ‘part of a vibrant network of knowledge sharing’. Membership also provides the opportunity to put forward agenda items for discussion at steering group meetings, and the option to put your organisation or yourself forward for a steering group place when available.

Quinn added:

To be clear, it is not our intention to come up with detailed solutions to everything. This is a voluntary organisation. But what we can do is make sure that the voice of the music community is heard, to set out a vision for what the music community need, to have the materials that feed into discussions, and to ensure that there is an understanding of how musical ecosystems work, how fragile they can often be, how sometimes they take decades to build up organically, and then can be damaged very quickly if we do not tend to them, care for them and understand them.

Music Alliance Ireland was initiated in 2020 by Neva Elliott, an artist and former CEO of Crash Ensemble, 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 network and voice for music organisations and musicians.
2. To advocate for policies that support the development of all aspects of music, including music education.
3. To work for the establishment of flagship music hubs (spaces for rehearsal, collaboration, performance, administration, recording and equipment storage) in locations around Ireland.
4. To campaign for proper pay for musicians.
5. To further the provision for music from Ireland in broadcasting and media.
6. To support the development of the independent record label sector in Ireland.

Attending the NCH meeting were member representatives Sharon Rollston, Chief Executive of Music Network; Evonne Ferguson, Director of the Contemporary Music Centre; Siân Cunningham, CEO of Crash Ensemble; Paul Scully, General Manager of Kirkos Ensemble; Bianca Gannon, Artist Development Officer with the Improvised Music Company and Project Officer with Music Alliance Ireland; and co-founder Elliott. 

Also in attendance were Robert Read, CEO of the National Concert Hall; Niall Doyle, Head of Music and Opera at the Arts Council; composer Garrett Sholdice, Director of Ergodos Records; composer Anna Murray; musician and producer Laoise O’Brien; Séamus Crimmins, former head of RTÉ Lyric FM, former Director of RTÉ Orchestras, Quartet and Choirs, and former Music Adviser and Policy Director at the Arts Council; and a number of other representatives from the music sector.

English- and Irish-language application forms for membership are now available on the Music Alliance Ireland website. There is no fee for individuals. Music organisations that receive annual funding are asked to pay a fee of €250 per annum to assist with MAI administration costs. Donations are also welcome and can be made on the website.

For queries regarding membership, email contact [at] musicallianceireland.ieFor more on Music Alliance Ireland visit https://musicallianceireland.ie.

Published on 25 April 2023

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