Caribbean Music Creatives Hope to get the World Dancing to Their Tune

Caribbean music can be heard all over the world.

Reggae, Soca, Ska, Merengue and Calypso are just some of the region’s most loved genres which have developed an enduring and universal appeal and secured international stardom for individuals including Bob Marley, Rihanna, and Machel Montano.

Keeping up the legacy of exporting Caribbean musical talent is the focus of the Business of Music workshop which started online yesterday (Tuesday, 22 June 2021).

The two-day event, which was organised by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) in collaboration with The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) and Music TT, aims to help over 120 Caribbean artistes, promoters, and managers find the best ways to export their ideas and expertise.

The workshop is the culmination of the recently held Business of Music training programme, where attendees studied various topics including, how to enter the music market and succeed, identifying and establishing your niche, and contracts and protection of Intellectual Property rights.

Speaking at the launch of the workshop via Zoom, Deodat Maharaj, Caribbean Export’s Executive Director, said: “Our Caribbean is known for its vibrant culture which has been able to navigate into North America and European markets, with music as the spearhead and the major pioneering force.

“However, our artistes make money and generate business only at certain times of the year. We really need to find ways to translate this recognition of our art form and the talent of our people to create jobs and opportunities…

“We see music, and the entire services sector, as key to diversification of economies in countries like Trinidad and Tobago and indeed the rest of the Caribbean.”

The aim of the Business of Music workshop is to further assist regional practitioners who are aiming to export their services within the Caribbean and beyond.

Over the two day period, participants will cement their knowledge in four key areas; the Business of Music; Metadata, Digitization and Publishing; Music and IP: Developing and Export Plan and Music Marketing.
During her feature address at the workshop on behalf of Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon, Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid, Permanent Secretary in Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said one of the major challenges faced by musicians, and others in the music business, is a lack of access to finance.

Ms Alleyne-Ovid pledged her governments support for creative entrepreneurs and added that Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy 2016-2030, also known as Vision 2030, has identified several priority service sectors for growth and expansion through a robust agenda for building their export capability including the creative industry and entertainment service.

Ms Alleyne-Ovid also underscored the economic potential of the global music industry, which is a billion dollar sector, and urged the workshop participants to grasp every opportunity to claim their fair share of the entertainment pie.

She added: “In the context of creative industries, Trinidad and Tobago’s multi-ethnic population, and amazing cultural diversity, is a natural source of creative goods and services which encompasses our music, art, craft, design, fashion, festivals and food that we can offer to the world.

“Our creative industries therefore have significant potential to generate increased revenue and employment, earn foreign exchange, and create export opportunities in international markets, and can also contribute to our economic diversification efforts.”

During his welcome remarks at the workshop, Mark Edghill, President at TTCSI, also outlined the financial power of the sector. He specifically highlighted the contribution of the creative industries to the US economy in 2019 in generating $919.7 billion (US), or 4.3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He added: “Without a doubt, the creative sector must be a priority for our countries…I truly believe that the creative and cultural industries can be a vehicle for integration and economic transformation for CARIFORUM states.”