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We have to step up our efforts - 'Babsy' Grange - Foreign acts continue to surpass J'can artistes on int'l market

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2016 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange


With the exception of Jamaican artiste OMI, who went Platinum with a pop remix of his ska record, Cheerleader, and producer Rvssian, who enjoyed decent sales with his reggaeton projects in 2015, reggae and dancehall music did not perform very well in comparison to other international genres. In fact, the highest-selling reggae album of the entire year was Joss Stone's Water For The Soul, and the effort only moved 29,000 units, which is a long way from Platinum and Gold certifications.

Grange, who spoke to The Sunday Gleaner at the recently concluded Shaggy and Friends concert, says she has no issues with foreigners outselling Jamaican artistes. In fact, she believes Jamaican acts can perform just as well commercially if they apply themselves and market the music. According to Grange, marketing and professionalism are the only tools which put foreign acts ahead of Jamaican acts.

"We gave the world reggae music and you will find that others will take that music, and they will market it and get the type of record sales that some of our artistes will not get. What we have to do is step up our efforts in marketing and promoting our music, so that we can keep pace with persons on the international scene," she said.


Raw talent is no longer enough


Grange also pointed out that the decline of record sales means recording artistes will have to become more business savvy, since raw talent is no longer enough to secure financial success.

"Reggae is doing very well worldwide, but in terms of record sales, not many of our artistes are doing well. Record companies are disappearing like travel agencies. So what you will find is that record companies who are signing artistes are not just signing to do a record - they are taking on everything, from management to publishing. So artistes have to be able to do more than just sing and write music. If you don't have a management which is well organised or professional, you will face serious issues," she warned.

The politician/producer also believes that Jamaica's status as a Third World country and its slow path to effectively capitalise on the benefits of the digital revolution have also hindered record sales.




Grange is optimistic that when the common Jamaican is fully equipped to understand the Internet, make purchases online, practise telecommuting and telemarketing, then music sales may improve.

"It is going to take some time for Jamaicans to fully get into the digital age. It's a challenging time for the record industry and Jamaican artistes - they are making money from tours now instead of from sales, because the digital age has changed a lot of things. But it has also said to us that the world is our stage and it is for us to seize the moment and be the best at what we do, and more than anything else, be professional," she said.

'Babsy' Grange was instrumental in the success of the careers of recording artistes Shabba Ranks and Patra.