Irish Times Stops Listing Jazz/Trad/Roots Events -- Just In Time For 'The Gathering'

Irish Times Stops Listing Jazz/Trad/Roots Events — Just In Time For 'The Gathering'

Goodness! I Just Choked On My Cornflakes!

Great news for Pop/Rock bands– they now own every valuable column inch in the Paper of Record's music listings supplement! Unfortunately, this is because the newspaper has decided they will no longer be running notices for traditional, jazz, or roots music.

Here is the email that is circulating:

It is with great regret that I send you this email to tell you that from the end of February, The Ticket will no longer carry traditional music listing. Jazz and Roots listings are also being discontinued. This decision is part of wider cost cutting measures at The Ticket. The final week of trad listings will therefore be: February 22nd-28th inclusive.

I have thoroughly enjoyed many years of collating listings on your behalf, and have enjoyed getting to know many of you as a result of coming into contact re:listings. I have no doubt that the absence of your gigs/sessions/concerts is likely to to be widely felt by you as musicians and events organisers , and of course Ticket readers.

Thank you for all your consistent submissions. I will miss listing all these vibrant events hugely.

I am at a loss to imagine what kind of savings will be introduced by the reduction of this service. I used to run a music listings website myself at one time, and I can assure you that the Jazz/Trad/Roots listings included in the current issue of The Ticket could not take more than a couple of hours a week to produce.

This is undoubtedly symptomatic of a wider issue at The Irish Times, and possibly a result of a major cost cutting meeting from over a year ago. Those measures were introduced on foot of the economic downturn in revenues for all traditional media.

But let's not forget that a couple of years back the journalists revolted because of "the flawed investment and diversification strategy of the company," leading to the resignation of director Maeve Donovan (with a payoff of €1M of course).

One of the most disastrous decisions was the €50M purchase of property website at the dizzying height of the boom in 2006, which was subsequently written down as a loss less than two years later.

Luckily, they managed to hawk their other domain to Tourism Ireland for half a million euro. (Not so lucky for TI, who are now facing questions about the ludicrous cost of their €3M site. Besides which, they already owned!)

So it looks like the IT are moving towards specialisation rather than diversification — and fans of traditional, jazz, and roots music are not included in their new demographic. Just in time for the deluge of 300,000 tourists looking for their 'Traditional Roots'.

Will they still carry Classical/Opera listings, I wonder? And is this just a prelude to a pay-per-item model?

UPDATE: It appears that the Trad listings will NOT be removed, according to a decision made late last night.