Mapping Dublin’s tech ecosystem, one human at a time.
I’m the Director of First Music Contact, we offer a suite of services to musicians, as a support structure at each level of the music industry; we have factsheets for starting out, we have Breaking Tunes, which is a music portal with 10,000 Irish bands on it, and we help people make the jump from local to national, in terms of visibility. We’re two weeks away from our flagship event, Hard Working Class Heroes, where we have 100 bands playing over three days, performing in seven venues in Dublin City Centre. It makes the city a great place to be over the weekend.
Tech is a big part of our programme. We see bands every month, for consultancy and planning sessions, and found that those sessions were just as helpful for tech companies starting out in the music sphere. We’ve worked with companies like Soundwave and Whole World Band and FanFootage and a whole bunch of MusicTech startups, putting music manners on them, as we like to say. There’s a lot of Apps, for example, that say they’re for musicians but they’re not really, they just need musicians to drive people to their site. What we like to do is engage with companies and ideas that actively want to make the world a better place for musicians. Our company is more a philosophy than it is a company, and it’s about putting the artist first.
At Hard Working Class Heroes we’re incubating five Irish tech companies: Press Record, Muddy, Firstage, Beatvyne and Cirquit. There are a lot of interesting innovations in MusicTech, but a lot of them are about finding a lock for the barn door, out of which the horse bolted around ten years ago. The tech we’re interested in is made by the people on the horse that bolted. I don’t know where that metaphor is going, but we’re looking to support, in a very real way, companies that are offering palpable assistance to musicians moving forward. I think the Music 3.0 solution is going to come out of Ireland. I really do.
Was Hard Working Class Heroes the making of Hozier? No. Hozier made Hozier by writing amazing songs. We possibly helped shorten his trip through the industry. We just brought him to attention earlier.
The payoff for us is bands doing really well, getting managers, agents and deals, getting booked to play festivals. The real payoff is people don’t smirk any more when you tell them that there’s a really healthy Irish music industry. It’s not just U2. Irish bands are doing better globally than they’ve ever done.