Strength in numbers - Caribbean music network organisation formed
Published: Monday | November 9, 2009
Interim co-chairman for the Caribbean Music Industry Networking Organisation, Howard McIntosh. - File
Caribbean countries are aiming to have greater bargaining power in the music business with the formation of the Caribbean Music Industry Networking Organisation (CaMINO). The organisation is expected to be in full operation by early next year.
CaMINO came to the fore at the CARIFORUM-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement Workshop, which was held in Martinique in September.
Interim co-chairman for CaMINO, Howard McIntosh, said he believes much can be achieved through this move by the different countries.
"This organisation is going to be a grouping of national bodies coming together because we think we have some common issues, as it relates to Caribbean music, that need to be addressed, and we recognise that there is strength in numbers," he told The Gleaner.
"Through networking, we think we will be able to achieve much more than if we tried to do it on our own."
McIntosh said the organisation is prepared for the problems that may arise among the countries, with each having its unique perspective.
"Inevitably, we are going to have issues but we see them more as challenges that we will try to overcome. We just have to keep the focus on what the organisation is trying to achieve," he said.
Strengths and weaknesses
On September 23, 10 Caribbean countries met in a roundtable setting to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the music industry in their territories. The results were documented in a skeleton paper likely to form the basis of a strategic plan to develop and promote music export within the region and across the world.
Present at the meeting were representatives from Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The French territories (Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana) and Trinidad and Tobago participated in discussions that took place later.
McIntosh said the organisation is being formed to provide a forum for education, discussion and collaboration between stakeholders in Caribbean music.
Since that meeting in Martinique, there has been some progress, as the the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) held a meeting at the World Music Expo recently, discussing the formation of the CaMINO. In addition, McIntosh said there are plans to have a mini retreat within the next 90 days, where the representatives from the various countries would establish a strategic plan for the Caribbean.
One of the main aims, McIntosh said, is formalising CaMINO.
"We are running as a concept now. We expect to be up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2010," he said.
However, a physical location for the body is yet to be determined, and there are discussions about the development of a secretariat. He said there will also be a board and the members will meet at least semi-annually. Full details, however, about the organisation, are still unsure.
"Those type of details will be determined when we establish policy and procedures," McIntosh said.
Work and commitment
With the aim of CaMINO being greater market penetration, he said no specific group is being targeted.
"It is really open to everyone that has a stake in the music industry. It is more focused (though) on entrepreneurs and business people in the industry," he said.
Nonetheless, McIntosh noted that the formation of the organisation will require a lot of work and commitment. On the plus side, he said there has been support from CEDA and the University of the West Indies.
"The vision we have for regional integration and collaboration is, in fact, the reality that we are already living," said Tonika Sealy, CEDA senior services advisor, in a release.
The release also stated that CEDA has placed its full support behind the body. CEDA has committed to work with the group to facilitate the vision to drive the ownership and export potential of Caribbean music globally.
At the September meeting, other issues were discussed, such as royalty collection, intellectual property, training and education of industry practitioners within the region and lobbying heads of CARICOM/CARIFORUM to support music industry initiatives.
Initial informal meetings were held with Dr Keith Nurse and other academics to discuss information sharing and requisite expertise for joint projects across the Caribbean as well as mutual development.
With the issue of royalty collections being so high on the agenda, initial discussions were held with the Caribbean Copyright Link about executing royalty collection, particularly in the European Union.