The chief executives of two of the country’s top radio stations have spoken out against EMI/Virgin Records for their part in releasing an album in association with Dublin pirate station Phantom FM.
The Dublin rock station recently released ‘Phantom Vol 1’ but in the current issue of Hot Press, Willie O’Reilly of Today FM expresses his disappointment that the record company would become associated with an illegal broadcaster.
He says: “I wonder how the artists feel about copyright infringement. We pay about 15% of our gross income to record companies for the use of their stuff. Phantom pay nothing.”
Although O’Reilly admits that [Phantom] should be licensed, he states that that isn’t the issue here. “The issue is that they aren’t licensed. They have pretty dirty hands because they came off the air to apply for a licence and when they didn’t get it, they went back on.”
FM104’s Dermot Hanrahan is even more scathing in his criticism. Directly addressing the record company, he says: “You’ve no moral authority to be dealing with piracy of music if you support criminal broadcasters.”
He suggests that artists involved with the album would not receive future airplay on FM104. “I don’t see that bands can still expect me to play their music if they associate themselves with criminal broadcasters.”
There are suggestions that the ODTR could come down heavy on EMI for their involvement, but in their defence, a spokesperson for the record company says that Phantom FM is not mentioned anywhere on the sleeve. Although the sleeve does refer to the station’s website phantomfm.com, “that is an internet station which is not illegal”, the spokesperson says.