Fri | Oct 18, 2019

Policy coming to protect online music

Published:Friday | August 25, 2017 | 12:17 AMStephanie Lyew
Gillian Wilkinson-McDaniel

Digital platforms on which artistes worldwide are able to share their music have seen significant growth in recent years. These platforms include Spotify, VEVO and Pandora which are used to support the streaming, downloading and purchasing of music.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), "the growth of streaming music and prevalence of digital platforms show that music consumption is higher than ever".

Despite the growth in streaming and downloads, players in Jamaica's entertainment sector are unable to keep track of the actual numbers to compare online digital media distribution versus streaming. 

“It may not be difficult to monitor the growth of online distribution of our music, but we at 21st Hapilos, get our statistics from online retailers and then by a system of tally keep track of the music from our clients,” said Nathaniel Wright, the company’s label manager.

21st Hapilos digital distribution is based in Jamaica and New York. It is one of the companies that have attempted to assist artistes as it relates to securing their royalties from the distribution of digital media. However,  21st Hapilos tracks purchases and downloads rather than streaming.

 Gillian Wilkinson-Mcaniel, senior director of entertainment in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, said work is underway to measure the extent to which Jamaican music is being consumed via the internet.

“After receiving the invitation to the 21st Hapilos Digital Media Awards, it propelled us to look at the data which included the IFPI Global Music Report, RIAA Report for 2016, along with doing research internally,” she said

Douglas Forbes, director of survey at the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), said there is a great need for policy especially as it relates to the cultural aspect of what is happening in the sector in generation of income.

"While there are a number of initiatives and committees in place to have a survey done, the time frame and the cost have not been determined,” he said.

Wilkinson-McDaniel said that "although the research is not complete, we are working with Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) and other organisations to create and establish a policy to protect the work of our artistes as it relates to these forms of online distribution”.