Distribution company believes in reggae
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
United States-based digital distribution, marketing and promotion company, Zojack World-wide, believes reggae music has the potential to sell records in all markets.
However, according to James Lord, the industry needs to be treated like a serious business instead of a hustle - something that has been said about the local space for many years.
According to Lord, Zojack's representative in Jamaica, if the quality of production is poor, then the returns from sales will be equally disappointing. Lord, therefore, encourages Jamaican producers and artistes to bring their best product to the forefront at all times.
"The main factor that can make reggae music break into the markets is quality. In the '90s foreign artistes did work with reggae music like the Rolling Stones who did some stuff with Peter Tosh, so foreign interest is not only now. But it relies heavily on the quality. There is always gonna be a place for reggae out there," he said.
Another issue highlighted by Lord, is that of saturation. According to Lord, artistes and producers have often released projects on top of prior work, stifling previous efforts.
The move is done to maintain presence in the marketplace, but Lord believes it compromises the potential and production of the projects, which in turn affects sales.
"I think the production level of reggae and dancehall is too saturated. A lot of people just focus on getting too much out instead of just working and focusing on one good album. The key to anything in life is putting your best foot forward, and whatever you're doing should be done the right way. Treat the music like a livelihood, and not a hustle," he said.
The Zojack representative also commented on difficulties faced by Jamaican music practitioners as it relates to amplifying promotions overseas for their work.
He believes to counteract those issues, industry players need to work as a team.
"Music is like building a house. There might be different ideas that somebody else could offer as well as keys to a niche market ... you will never know unless you make that decision," he said.
Lord was speaking at Chuck Fenda's Jah Element album launch hosted at King Jammy's recording studio in Waterhouse.
Zojack World-wide was founded in Chicago in 2007 by an information technology manager and a healthcare administrator, both of whom had a passion for music in all its forms.
The company has distributed the works of Mavado, Beenie Man, Chuck Fenda, and a host of other reggae and dancehall acts.