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Music industry needs players who see it as business

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Christina Grand

Jamaica's music industry has evolved over the years according to industry insiders, a change they say is welcoming, as today's batch of artistes are recognising that the industry involves more than just putting out hit songs; it requires key players who see the industry as the business it is.

Christina Grand, director of operations at the Reggae Embassy, an organisation birthed out of the need to assist key players in the industry grasp knowledge of the business side of the music, told The Gleaner that artistes today are beginning to learn that it takes more than just a few hit songs to remain relevant in today's industry.

"I agree that a small percentage of our entertainers will have this 'accidental' hit song that will give them a surge to the top, but honestly, nowadays, artistes have to be knowledgeable of the business in order to remain relevant. They need things structured and organised and if you have that, you will have a better experience in the music business," she said. "If you yourself are not knowledgeable of the business, then you should have strong people around you who do because, that way, you will know what deals to accept and what not to accept."

Grand also pointed out that the change in landscape has made it difficult for today's artistes to remain on top because the industry has become saturated with entertainers.

"Back in the day, you could have one song out there and you would become popular because the talent pool was much smaller, the business wasn't as saturated. You have so many people doing music these days that everyone is overwhelmed."

Markus Myrie, popular producer and son of incarcerated superstar Buju Banton, agreed with Grand.




"Back then, there were less mediums through which music could be consumed. The choice of music was almost mandatory, so to speak, as it was not up to the listener. For the artiste, it was easier to 'hit' because it was easier to capture the attention of the general public, knowing the few places they had as entertainment options," he said, explaining that today's artistes have recognised the change and have started making amendments to keep up with today's industry.

"Due to a number of factors, the business aspect of the music has gained more fans these days in reggae/dancehall. I definitely think that the new generation has already grasped the concept that the music business is a business, just like any other, and they have to treat it as such."

Myrie also said that if artistes were able to, they should try to learn as much about the music business as possible, perhaps going back to school to gain that knowledge.

"Knowledge can never be too much. It is always good to have an artiste who knows what they want, but unfortunately, that is not the case with all of our artistes," he said. "As we know, most of our brightest stars in the field do not necessarily shine as bright academically, so if they themselves cannot do it (learn the business) they need someone - in most cases a manager - who has a vision and can do what is best for the artiste and lead them in the right direction."