Some of the larger privately funded arts organisations in Ireland would include performing arts organisations such as the Gaeity theatre, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, or the 3Arena. The music sector in particular is dominated by private organisations. At a performance level, the 3Arena is run by Live Nation who run another three venues. Named the fourth busiest music arena in the world in 2013, it is owned by Apollo Leisure Group (a subsidiary of Live Nation) and is operated by Live Nation Ireland. Live Nation is pursuing the purchase of the Irish concert promotions company MCD. Through their subsidiary Festival Republic, Live Nation also runs most of Europe’s music festivals, including Electric Picnic in Ireland formerly run by POD concerts.
The 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster to become Live Nation Entertainment has sparked concern about the controlling monopoly and the over commercialising of the live music experience. A quote from the Live Nation sponsorship website suggests that the concern may be justified: “Through their partnership with Live Nation Ireland, Heineken have had a resounding success amongst a captive audience – gaining market share growth and recognised as a leading brand in music.”
IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation) is the dominant player in music licencing collection and also provides some minor levels of funding. The organisation sponsors a number of song contests, music festivals, seminars, workshops, research projects and showcase performances. IMRO’s Music Funding Programme is part of its mission to help foster and develop creativity across all categories of music styles and genres in Ireland today.
Business to Arts is a membership based charitable organisation that acts as a bridge connecting creative partnerships between business and the arts. They offer circa six organisations EUR 80,000 per year under their new stream programme which funds capacity building for arts and cultural organisations to develop their arts fundraising. The annual Business to Arts Awards aim to give recognition to quality sponsorship partnerships.
Fund It was established by Business to Arts as an all-island rewards-based crowdfunding website for Ireland’s creative projects. Most funding through this site is based on individual giving. An area that could be developed further is pier to pier funding and investment funding. At present there are no private grant-making foundations in Ireland focusing specifically on arts and culture.