The billion-dollar Global music industry has changed rapidly over the past 10 years alone. Some may argue that the digital age has made it that much more accessible with social media platforms supporting artist and new music discovery. However, the introduction of streaming shook up the industry causing adaptation and change to enable artists capitalise through the monetize digital music.
YouTube along with other social media platforms has birthed stars allowing unknown artists to reach parts of the world they couldnâ€™t imagine and creating a demand or following for their music long before any record label picked them up. But how do artists get discovered online? And how can the Caribbean musicians leverage digital platforms to export their music globally?
These are some of the questions the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) is attempting to answer with its Business of Music (BOM) programme. â€œUnderstanding of the digital music industry is imperative if an artist is going to succeed and the Business of Music training programme aims to build the capacity of artists, managers, producers and those involved in the music industryâ€ informed Allyson Francis, Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.
Since 2017, the Agency has worked with Business Support Organisations (BSOs) specifically the Coalition on Services Industries (CSIs) from across the region to enable those involved in the industry to participate in BOM sessions via the online self-learning platform, and face to face workshops. A new dimension to this training was the instructor led webinars. Over 120 people have participated in these initiatives thus far and most recently, the Agency held a two-day workshop in collaboration with COSCAP (Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Inc.) and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the â€˜knowledge companyâ€™ Music Ally Ltd in Barbados.
The workshop welcomed twenty-three (23) participants from nine Caribbean countries who gained insight on topics such as the mystery of YouTubeâ€™s algorithm and how to optimise it; how to develop a lean and mean online campaign; how to leverage tools such as Chartmetric amongst others. Participants also performed digital health checks to get a better understanding of how they or their artists are viewed online and increase their understanding of how their music can be discovered.
â€œThis isnâ€™t an age now where you can simply sit back and relax and hope that people get involved with you and your music simply by making music available. Youâ€™ve got to be regularly interacting with peopleâ€ stressed the CEO and Co-founder of Music Ally Ltd â€“ Paul Brindley.
â€œYou have to go where the music fan is so that means making sure that all of those channels are absolutely properly optimised, so your Youtube, Spotify, all the social media platforms and make sure they are all linked togetherâ€ he continued. â€œMake the music fans life as easy as possible and so think through the eyes of the music fan and think, how are they going to discover me?â€
â€œOur managers, musicians, artists need to leverage the tools that are out there and do everything they can to increase their chances of being discoveredâ€ commented Francis. â€œAt Caribbean Export we are committed to providing the necessary support, but we can only take you so far.â€
One participant from Saint Lucia Akeem Anderson, artist and producer from Onel Sound Productions summed up his experience, â€œThe last two days have been nothing but beneficial. The majority of us who have been in attendance are pretty much individuals who have gotten our feet wet already in the business and in the industry. Weâ€™re getting some gigs, weâ€™ve had some success, we have a little bit of notoriety. However, the information that theyâ€™ve disseminated is going to allow us to chisel in our characteristics and our skills, honing in on our good qualities and strengths and maximise our resources however limited or expansive that they may be in to reaching not just a regional audience but also an international audience and getting the revenue we desire for our work and our intellectual propertyâ€.