State of Ja's music debated

State of Ja's music debated

Cecelia Campbell-Livingston

Friday, May 31, 2013

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AN enthusiastic debate on the state of Jamaica's music industry took place Tuesday evening at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.

Dubbed 'The Jamaica Music Industry: Its Present State and The Way Forward, it was organised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA).

Chaired by a three-member panel, the forum attracted several upcoming reggae artistes as well as longtime industry insiders including Copeland Forbes.

Panelist Abishai Hoilett observed that after 50 years, Jamaica's music business is still not up to first world standard.

"It went from being thoughtful, revolutionary to a type of 'what can I say now to get the people railed up'," he said.

Hoilett added that much of locally-produced music has shifted from traditional reggae to hip hop. He is also concerned that in the age of advanced technology, the required software to track airplay for royalty collection is not available in Jamaica.

Another panelist, Lisa McDonald, brought a gender perspective to the discussion. She pointed to the lack of women in the music industry, and the dominance of male artistes on live shows.

Singer Chronixx called on artistes to unite as they are the backbone of the industry. He believes an injection of professionalism will give the music business a significant lift.

"No wonder some artistes can't get a visa from the (United States) embassy cause we seem to have a backdoor thing. It need a vibrant industry behind them," he said.

Forbes, who has managed major acts such as Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, addressed the matter of artiste management.

"It bothers me because they (artistes) need proper management who understand the business. A man just mek him uncle, brother or wife be his manager and it cannot be approached like a peanut vendor," Forbes stated.

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