Free Online Traditional Irish Music. How much does it help you?

It never ceases to amaze me how much free traditional Irish music there is online now as compared to years ago and I wonder what difference it makes to people in learning their flute, fiddles, accordian or whatever.

Firstly can anyone enlighten me about how all the clips get up on Youtube from providers such as RTE,BBC etc. Do these stations put them up and does YouTube pay the stations? Do the musicians that appear in the clips get paid, and why is this different to normal copyright in the print media? If it is free for us to use and learn from, surely someone must be getting paid for it. When artists allow themselves to filmed do they not stipulate that it can't be shared or used in a free forum such as YouTube, or is this all part of self promotion, with the more sites such as this that embed , the better, bringing them to a wider audience.

Secondly with all the free online music, be it traditional Irish or other is it making a big difference to members learning experience. Do you use these clips to inspire or motivate yourself? Do you learn variations, ornamentation or skills form the clips? As stated before in spending so much time on TradConnect I find that the repeated listening to certain videos of Tommy Peoples, John Carty and others is making a big difference to my playing.

How do others find it?

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From what i understand it's a 'grey zone' with filmed gigs and performances on Youtube. I think you're on to something, assuming it's a form of PR/spreading of their music/generating interest in attending actual gigs with said artist.

I don't have a clue if i'm right or wrong, but i am friends with some artists on Facebook whos performance i have put up on Youtube, and afterwards linked on F.B. and i reckon if they disapproved, they'd say so.

I actually wrote a mail, retroactively to Cónal O'Grada re. "advertising" his flute tutor book here, and he just wrote back 'Thanks!'

Not saying there aren't artists out there who do mind though..

EDIT: IMO i would have been a worse musician today if i hadn't had the opportunity to listen to my 'idols' and adapting my playing..

Copyrighted material on YouTube: As I perceive it, copyright holders may request and/or demand that their material be removed from the site, but only after it has been posted. Sometimes I think owning the rights to intellectual property like music is a bit the same as if someone owned oxygen. It is impossible to monitor or control it's use once it's out in the public, and if it is not out in the public, it has no value. 

Free online music: Personally I use online music sources as a database or library. I use online music to refesh old material, discover new material and find new versions of material with which I am already familiar. I don't listen to very much music strictly for entertainment. I'd much rather make it myself.

I use online sources such as The Session to get tunes I want to learn. Then I use a program called Capo to slow them down and repeat various parts until I've got them my head and fingers. I seldom use YouTube to learn stuff.

We run a weekly feature on our website where we encourage musicians to offer a free download in return for the publicity. I think it's great that there's free Irish music available.  Firstly it promotes it to people who are not familiar with it, but secondly it inspires people to be creative. It's almost like learning on the job.  You watch/hear someone do something, then you try it.

Surprisingly we have had more artists from outside Ireland who show an interest in being featured on the site, but either way I think it does help inspire people to create their own. At least I hope it does :) Would love to hear from others here that agree or disagree.

I find UTube absolutely vital!

Chesterfield is somewhat out of the frame as a centre of Irish music (though I do my best!). This means that I struggle to hear the tunes being played, a big barrier if your wanting to learn anything.

As most of you will know, I usually learn tunes from dots but its also important to listen. I pick up on ornamentation in particular by listening to other players. I don't always use what I find and sometimes the listening just validates what I'm already doing.

The great advantage of UTube is that its free (my kind of price!) and has multiple versions of almost every tune you can think of. If it had been around when I was younger it would have made the learning of the instrument so much easier too. There are loads of technique / instruction videos that would have helped me no end in those days.

As for it being a tool you can use to slavishly copy the work of "the greats", I'm dead against it though. Part of what made them great is the individual approach that they brought to the tunes. Its the development of those skills that is more important than being able to play "such and such" a tune just like "so and so".

Hi Tony,

This discussion strikes a nerve with me... I'm a huge advocate of supporting musicians by purchasing CDs and .mp3s, but especially by going to concerts.

There is no other way for even the greatest artists to survive and dedicate their livelihoods to music, when people will be out there pirating their blood, sweat and tears without shame.  I'm very passionate about this.

While I am absolutely not advocating censorship of posted works on the internet (and I don't want to share to much about current and advancing technology), artists are at a complete disadvantage, and it is becoming an exponentially worse situation each day.  I think the "LIVE" concert and pub recordings are okay for YouTube, if the artist is asked and agrees to the recording (or photos) in advance.  I wouldn't advocate ripping and posting music on the web, onto CDs or anywhere without the artist's permission.  The situation is almost so pervasive at this point, that it's harder to avoid hearing any of the stolen or misrepresented art!

The media that bothers me worse are the "videos" with combined ripped image and ripped music, and those are breaking my heart.  In fact, I am thinking of not even listening to them...  if the artists aren't getting money from the recordings, people must go to the concerts and buy the music!  I'm ashamed to say that I even posted a video that I got from a well-known artist's FaceBook page - although it wasn't his own work he posted!  I didn't even realize what I was doing!  I am sure a lot of the fan love is done in innocence, but everyone has to think about the artists.  Many of these guys and gals have dedicated their lives to music, and they may have no other regular income source.

Personally, I learn a lot more from watching the artists live on YouTube than by listening to the CD.  It is always interesting to note the physical mechanics of the most prolific musicians.  If you watch plenty of musicians in concert and on video, you will note that while there is a lot of variation in technique, there is also a thread of consistency.  Because I consider myself both a visual and aural learner, I find live YouTube recordings really helpful.

I'm not privy to the laws around this world concerning art on the web.  The onus of protection on art seems to fall onto the artists themselves.  The sheer volume of postings is huge, so any law agency would have trouble enforcing any laws that were made.  We have to depend on the kindness and good intentions of our own actions.  I believe that because of this, only artists who have a secondary source of income will thrive, and artists who've dedicated their lives to perfecting their craft will continue to struggle.  It's an age-old situation made worse by technology!

Sorry for the long post, but this is an important issue and well worth some thought!


Regarding video and all postings on the internet in the U.S. - this major legislation concerning internet sharing is about to occur any moment now - please research the following topic "SOPA - Stop Online Piracy Act" to get an idea of what to expect regarding the future of sharing of videos and media on the internet...


The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the Protect IP Act.


I'm very skeptical of SOPA.  Ostensibly it protects copyright holders, but I am suspicious that it will merely protect huge hollywood and music big guys.  If, for example, I post a tune that I've recorded, and it matches third party content I could be subject to unreasonable fines (say for example the name matches a different copyrighted tune, or if they think I've breached the fair-use rules guiding recording the composition of someone else.)  And that could lead to youtube getting shut down, even.  As an independent musician, I depend on social media outlets like youtube, facebook, and twitter to attract fans.  Here's a fair reading from talking about the potential problems that SOPA could cause:

Honestly Katie, I am skeptical too.

I thought I would leave it for our readers to research and decide, but really Americans should be speaking up about this, since it is technically impacting our GLOBAL future on the internet.

I honestly haven't even had the time to get all of the facts, and think about the potential ramifications of this law, and the other big law that is skating though our legislative system with it.

Here are the things that have made me skeptical and that people should know:

#1 - The laws have been giving acroynym names to detract from attention and to confuse the public. Even if I read the word "SOPA", it wouldn't attract my attention to the fact that it is making a huge impact to our rights as American citizens and citizens of the world.

#2 - The media attention for this legislation (TV, newspapers, etc.) has been all but absent in the U.S... could it perhaps be due to the influences and protection of worldwide media giants and large corporations?  Why aren't any of the news agencies giving voters ANY information?  Why wouldn't this have time to be be put on a ballot?

#3 - Why aren't we being given time to review the proposed laws and to express our feelings to our legislators? Where are our strangely silent Hollywood actors crying out for "Freedom of Speech" rights?  Why is this bill being rammed through congress within a few Holiday weeks? Any bill that is drafted and introduced in such a rush prior to the Holiday season, when people are preoccupied and don't even know what is happening in our world is scary stuff - dare I say "Orwellian"?

I could be misunderstanding - but I haven't been given time to know!  I wish to know more, but like most Americans, I am preoccupied with work and family during the Holiday Season, while somehow our lackluster legislators have magically snapped into life and continue to work on passing this bill (including "liberal" President O'Bama) before the end of this year!!! Incredible!  Very sad and very disturbing to say the least, but somehow I don't think this legislation is going to come out benefitting global internet-based freedom and technology, small businesses, artists or musicians not signed to huge labels, or your average Joe on the street.  It seemingly benefits lawyers (especially copyright lawyers), media giants, and large corporations.


HR 3261 Stop Online Piracy Act

Katie and TradConnect friends~

Here's a link to the imminent SOPA legislation here in the U.S.

This includes a list of politicians and companies who support and oppose SOPA, and the amounts of money that the politicians are being paid by the lobbyists for their votes.

If this bill passes, it will greatly affect (if not disable) websites like YouTube, FaceBook and TradConnect, and most other music sharing sites that are promote any copyrighted materials.

It will also affect the musicians, but especially the huge media giants.  Artists will likely be forced to partner with huge organizations and agencies to promote copyrighted materials via the internet; these organizations of course will help themselves to the bulk of any profits from the artists themselves.

This bill vote is imminent; if you have any concerns as an American or for your friends overseas, I encourage you to contact your local House representatives through the linked website.



I'm still not getting this as it is not clear who has the rights to the music. In one scenario you could have me or you loading a traditional tune onto youtube where the composer is unknown with that tune subsequently being embedded onto a site like this. If we don't want people to embed it we either don't load it onto youtube, or we disable the embedding function

In a second scenario you could have a RTE clip of Tommy People playing a traditional tune or self composition. Who I ask loads these clips up onto youtube and who has the rights to them and why arent RTE chasing or having the clips taken down.

I can understand artists with original music or videos such as U2 or Springsteen etc not wanting there music being distributed. However with ITM I think it is a bit different. I actually think that Youtube etc allows you to discover artists and promotes them. I still want to have their albums on my shelf.

That's an important point there i think. Youtube vids aren't, and will never be a substitute (for me anyway) for records, DVD's etc.

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