Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 16:46 UK

Musicians 'lose royalty millions'

Singer Brian Kennedy was also part of the artists' delegation.
Singer Brian Kennedy was also part of the artists' delegation.

Northern Ireland musicians and composers believe they are losing out on millions of pounds of royalties every year.

A delegation of artists met politicians at Stormont to press the case for a local co-operative.

It would collect royalty payments on behalf of writers and performers north of the border.

The group, led by music publisher Richard Abbott, held talks with the assembly's arts committee.

Mr Abbott, chairman of the Northern Ireland Music Rights Society, said a locally based co-op would help the Northern Ireland music industry achieve its potential.

"This would be a non-profit making organisation set up by songwriters for songwriters which will help young communities of songwriters develop," he said.

Committee members voiced unanimous support for the idea and agreed to take the matter forward and raise it with Arts Minister Edwin Poots.

SDLP arts spokesman Pat Ramsey said: "There is a strong argument for the rights of musicians, performers, songwriters and composers to be dealt with by a local royalties collection agency.

"There is no doubt that the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) has brought great benefit to musicians and the music industry in the Republic.

"I proposed that the department should take this proposal and work with local composers, songwriters and musicians to produce a feasibility study and this was accepted by the committee."

Singer Brian Kennedy was also part of the artists' delegation.

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