Only 6 of the 50 most-played songs on Irish radio in 2022 were by Irish artists including ‘Make Me Feel Good’ by Belters Only feat. Jazzy.

Air waves are not our waves

The ferocious musical energy of Ireland is impossible to miss. It can feel like every third person you meet is up to their elbows in some kind of musical endeavour. So, why is this not being represented on the Irish air waves?

A recently released data report by diversity and inclusion specialists Why Not Her? has laid bare some not too flattering facts about Irish radio and its partiality towards overseas artists. The report looks at and dissects the top 50 most played songs across all Irish radio stations in 2022. Of songs featured in the top 50, only 12% were by domestic Irish artists or bands. This translates to 6 songs by 4 Irish artists: 1 by Belters Only feat. Jazzy; 3 by Dermot Kennedy; 1 by Moncrieff; and 1 by Welshy feat. Nono.

2022 saw Dermot Kennedy knocked off the number 1 most played Irish artist spot for the first time in 3 years by breakout DJ duo Belters Only feat. Jazzy. Their song 'Make Me Feel Good' was the 2022 number 1 most played song by an Irish artist on Irish radio. It sits at number 7 overall in the top 10 most-played songs on Irish radio in 2022.

Of the 6 Irish songs featured in the top 50 most played according to Why Not Her?, none were by Irish persons of colour - solo artists or groups - and none were by female solo artists or groups. Harry Styles and his hit song 'As It Was' was the most-played song on Irish radio in 2022.

Why Not Her? founder Linda Coogan Byrne said: “The data is there and it is shocking that in a country with such an abundance of Irish musicians and bands that still, Irish radio refuses to support its own domestic talent. This goes deeper again with the reality that no women or artists of colour were included in the Top 50 most played songs of 2022 on Irish radio.

“There is a diverse multicultural vibrancy that is at an all-time high, this needs to be reflected in the radio stations in Ireland. It is my continued hope that these data reports can continue to set the precipice for a lot of change to come.

“Change can happen at a quick rate, when an unconscious bias is stripped back and when the effort is applied to make the shift towards diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said.

Why Not Her? is calling on the Irish government and the BAI to move towards a change of policy and legislation in order to safeguard Irish artists by implementing a quota for Irish music to be played on Irish radio.