Contractor getting the scoop on Europe

By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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HAVING worked as a marketing consultant with leading reggae record labels and events, Sean 'Contractor' Edwards' latest project is largely sociological.

Edwards, who heads Contractor's Marketing, left for Europe in mid-May on a fact-finding mission that took him to France, the United Kingdom and Spain.

He is analysing the market there to see what Jamaican acts, and music, are popular on the continent.

"In Europe, for the summer, there are 70-80 reggae music festivals, while in Jamaica there is only one which is Sumfest, so Europe is the market for the summer," Edwards noted.

Based on his observations, not a lot of contemporary reggae is played in Europe.

"With the exception of Sean Paul, you don't hear a lot of Jamaicans on mainstream radio. I think the Jamaican producers should start producing music that can be played on major stations," he said. "They can do this by improving on the lyrics and also fusing reggae and dancehall with the uptempo dance music that is so popular in Europe."

Another concern is overpriced artistes. According to Edwards, some booking agents are turned off by the high price tag of some artistes.

"They think because they are hot in Jamaica they can ask for outrageous fees," he said.

Europe has been a happy hunting ground for roots-reggae artistes for decades. Acts like Burning Spear, Culture, the Mighty Diamonds, Pablo Moses and Israel Vibration have massive followings throughout Europe.

But there has been a campaign in recent years by promoters there for contemporary acts to attract younger audiences, especially to festivals.

Edwards, who holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Florida International University, has worked with labels including Downsound Records and Tad's Records, acts like Morgan Heritage as well as the annual Boxing Day show, Sting.

He is also a singer whose songs include Babylon be Still, Heartbroken (with Mikey General) and Pain, which was done with Capleton.




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