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Music Fans, Entertainers Urged To Capitalise on Digital Options

Published:Sunday | March 13, 2016 | 3:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange
Jay Z
Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley
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The Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), is encouraging the music industry to get with the times as it relates to its appreciation of new technology and the online purchasing and sales of music.

JAMMS' recent staging of a music business seminar at The Terra Nova Hotel saw the Director of New Media Services at Warner Music Group Alfonso Perez-Soto informing guests about the selling, streaming and purchasing of music through new media.

While Perez-Soto conceded that the Caribbean was crawling behind its competitors as it relates to benefiting from new opportunities, he also noted that with research, practice and assistance from established music partners, local industry players stand to improve their profits from music production.

"Everybody has smartphones and that within itself is a streaming device which will drive the consumption of music in places like Jamaica. The older generation is jumping on this as well because you have plenty of people that are 50-years-old or more who are using streaming. Digital provides a wide variety of music and exceeds any kind of distribution that was offered to consumers before," he said.

Perez-Soto, also pointed out that the Caribbean needs active partners in order to ensure that the region keeps up with the pace of more developed countries.

"Local companies can join with the global music services and they can provide a very compelling offer for the people of Jamaica. Warner Music Group came in the industry manufacturing CDs, Vinyls and DVDs, and we are now a digital media company. That process took us years and we had to re-educate our staff and hire the necessary people. So Jamaicans will have to acquire the knowledge. The information is out there and if you have a good partner, they should give you the distribution. CD Baby, Zojack - all those partners have information to share with their artistes. They should also provide information about the amount of streams and downloads. Aside from that, you have to learn the business of social media and learn how to navigate your way through the Internet," he said.

Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, minister of culture, gender affairs, entertainment and sports, also spoke on the new developments in technology. She says JAMMS should consider embarking on a public education programme if they want fans and musicians to start capitalising on streaming and other digital options.

"A lot of the stakeholders do not fully understand what it entails and involves. We have to move from the jack of all trade mentality because this is a specialised industry and the creative individuals are doing their work and are not reaping the full benefits because they don't know. Some of them cannot even read their own royalty statements and understand what it says," said Grange.

According to Grange, Jamaica is moving slowly into the digital era, however, it will eventually get to the point where persons can sit in the comfort of their homes and purchase music online or stream from the relevant streaming channels.

Streaming is now one of the more popular ways of gaining profits from the consumption of music in the U.S. Several recording artistes like Drake, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Beyonce and Kayne West, have all released projects exclusively through streaming channels.

Jamaica's own Damian Marley has already made steps to capitalise on music streaming and was last year noted as one of the owners of Jay Z's streaming service, Tidal.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com