IRISH MUSICIANS are arguably as successful today as they’ve ever been. Hozier recently topped the Billboard Top 100 in the US, only the fourth Irish act ever to do so. Duo Picture This, a homegrown pop-rock act, headlined an incredible five consecutive nights at the 3Arena earlier this month, in front of nearly 70,000 punters. A stunning and internationally acclaimed hip-hop scene has emerged, seemingly from nowhere.
From an industry perspective, though, Ireland does still struggle. There’s a lack of joined up thinking. Irish radio plays a disappointingly small amount of homegrown tracks, and even the PR link ups between musicians and journalists are convoluted and could use some simplicity, joined up thinking, and targeting.
Sinead Troy, one of the founders of PlayIrish, knows all about the issues. Troy runs the Irish arm of Yangaroo, a PR concept aimed at delivering new music digitally. She manages singer-songwriter Cathy Davey, and also manages IASCA, an organisation focused on increasing Irish radio play. PlayIrish is her team’s attempt to push the radioplay agenda forward.
“There’s a bottleneck in artists getting out there,” the extremely enthusiastic Troy tells the Gazette over the phone. Her passion for her work immediately jumps out: the names of Irish acts to explore drip from the conversation, from the obvious – Kodaline, and Picture This – to lesser-known acts like Nina Hynes and Conor Walsh.
“We’ll be playing the big acts and the little acts. The playlist is very much dictated by quality,” Troy tells us. “We love seeing anyone doing well. A lot of the big acts bring Irish support acts on tour, and that really helps everyone along. One of the tracks we have on the current playlist is a debut single. I think it says a lot about the quality of the scene that we can have a really varied playlist. I was listening earlier and I Shazamed a couple of tracks as I just had to know who they were. I hope that’s the effect we’ll have, the quality is really high.”