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Value before monetisation - Bogdanovich asks Jamaicans to support own music

Published:Friday | June 10, 2016 | 12:49 AMMel Cooke

During his address at last Wednesdays’s third Annual UTech Jamaica/Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), Downsound Records CEO Josef Bogdanovich gave the audience a choice.

He asked those gathered in the courtyard of the Technology Innovation Centre, UTech’s Papine Campus, to imagine that he a free ticket in each hand. One gave access to an all-inclusive party with drinks and food all night, in the other was for an event with the best reggae artistes in concert.

Assessing the show of hands for each imaginary offer, Bogdanovich concluded that the results were indeterminate at best.

The impromptu imaginary offer in approaching the topic Mining Gold! How Do We Monetise Jamaica’s Music Success, Bogdanovich stated from the outset that “I see reggae in Jamaica perhaps differently from you ... It is the force that pulled me to Jamaica and made it my home”.

However, Bogdanovich said he also recognises that culture is slipping away. The live performance which he gave the audience an option of later in his talk came up early as he said the biggest festivals around Jamaican popular music are in countries like Holland, Spain and Germany. He noted that while Jamaica had about 10 major annual large concerts a decade ago, now “we have about three”.


The added significance of that figure is that Bogdanovich has just bought into one of them, Reggae Sumfest, this year’s staging scheduled for late July in Montego Bay, St James. Previously, his Downsound Records was a major sponsor of the Boxing Day event Sting in Portmore, St Catherine.

While the evening’s focus was on monetising Jamaican music, Bogdanovich questioned the value Jamaicans put on that music.

“You do not recognise what you have as being something special,” he said, adding that people globally love Jamaica’s music and the spirituality that comes with it. “You are special, whether you see it or not,” Bogdanovich said. “Strangers celebrate it. Why don’t you?”

While the talent is there, Bogdanovich questioned the discipline and attitude, demanding why Jamaicans do not make the country a place they want to live in and not run away from.

“Take charge of your culture, you own it,” he said, then asking what persons’ principles are and what they represent. “Music can be a source of income. You have something the world recognises as something of value.”

In urging Jamaicans to support their own, Bogdanovich said, “Music is the ball and you the people are the bat. You choose to bat the ball as far as you can and score for your country.” The other option is to see a valuable asset taken away, leaving “crumbs” for Jamaica.

He urged respect for all involved in music – performers, dancers, vendors, selectors and more – before ending by identifying the answer to the lecture’s question and a specific invitation.

“You are the way to monetisation. See you at Sumfest,” Bogdanovich said.