JMC hailed a success

JMC hailed a success

Observer senior reporter

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Organisers of the just-concluded Jamaica Music Conference (JMC) are claiming success with this year's staging. The occasion was held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston on February 13-20, 2020.

Joan Webley, director of the JMC, noted that this year it was recognised that there needs to be an urgency in providing solutions to some of the issues which plague the local music industry. She shared that for far too long the fraternity has been speaking around a lot of these issues and, therefore, not making the strides required to take the music deeper into the international market.

Webley added that the urgency becomes even more acute when it was realised that the national development plan as set out in Vision 2030 is only 10 years away, so time is of the essence.

“In the five years of the JMC, we have sought to cement key relations and that has resulted in what we experienced this year with corporate sponsorship from Boom Energy Drink and industry support from Solid Agency, which utilised its links to present what was a strong conference line-up. The big thing coming out of the conference is the need for stakeholders to level up. That was the call to action coming from almost every presenter and panellist. Shaggy's call was perhaps heard the loudest. When he told the session how despite all his success, he was still learning more about the music industry, thanks to his collaboration with Sting. So he just urged upcoming artistes, managers, roadies, everybody involved to learn more so that they can take their brand and business to the next level,” said Webley.

She also noted that it was recognised that part of the solution moving forward is intentional communication.

“There is a high level of mistrust and division in the local music industry. This is not confined to Jamaica only, but we just need to talk a lot more. Explain a lot more and provide vital information to our stakeholders a lot more. Another major thing was the establishment of a think tank which was charged to establish assumptions about the state of the music industry; look at the challenges; and make recommendations on how to remedy these challenges within the next 10 years,” said Webley.

The think tank comprise a number of known faces in the local fraternity, including Andrea Davis, conceptualiser of International Reggae Day; music insider Clyde McKenzie; Abishai Hoilett of Bebble Rock Music; and Evon Mullings of the Jamaica Music Society.

Among the key recommendations coming out of the deliberations by the think tank were the introduction of music business, history and production courses into curriculum at all levels to foster a deeper appreciation of the value of Jamaica's creative industries, and retooling Jamaica's creative industries utilising cross-generational expertise and best practices from lessons learned over the past 50-plus years of popular Jamaican music.

This think tank, which was established just for the conference, has agreed to remain intact to monitor and guide some of its recommendations.

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