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Money can be made in music but ...

BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | 11:13 AM    

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MANY articles have been written on the fact that the entertainment industry can be a big money earner for the country. 

In an article published in the Jamaica Observer on Friday, December 30, 2011, Richard Lumsden, programme director in the Planned Development Unit at the Planning Institute of Jamaica and  Jamaica Exporters’ Association General Manager Jean Smith gave some impressive figures on the kind of money that can be made when it comes on to the creative industry.

Entertainment lawyer Lloyd Stanbury cautioned that the “big reward” will not happen though for Jamaica unless “there is a structured approach to development that is based on serious commitment and partnerships between government, private investors and the members of the creative fraternity,” he pointed out adding that such an approach  must be informed by expert advice, and supported with adequate funding.

“In my opinion Jamaica has too many “self proclaimed” creative industries experts offering advice and solutions. Too many persons offer advice on development without having studied what is required and what has worked for structured industry development,” he said.  

As far as Stanbury is concerned, before the creative industry can begin making a meaningful contribution to the economy several steps must first be taken.

"The steps necessary for creative industries development should be examined from both the domestic and international perspectives."

Among the steps suggested by Stanbury are “a public education campaign to increase the level of appreciation for the value of IP rights; inclusion of arts courses in mainstream curriculum at primary, secondary, and tertiary level educational institutions; establishment of internationally acceptable tertiary level diploma, bachelors and masters programmes in arts and entertainment management; strengthening of IP rights enforcement institutions and mechanisms at the state and private sector levels (such as collective management organisations, creative industries trade associations, the police force, the judiciary and department of customs) and transformation of the Edna Manley College into a commercial profit making enterprise with the inclusion of student run community radio and TV stations, music production studio, and video production facilities.

 Where the steps on the international level are concerned Stanbury’s suggestions are that there should be an appointment of a Creative Industries International Trade Commissioner/Ambassador with responsibilities to “represent Jamaican creative industries operators globally; to work in conjunction with overseas JAMPRO, JTB offices and Jamaican embassies; to facilitate strategic marketing and business collaboration between domestic operators and overseas interests; to do research and provide information on international sources of development funding and to assist with the development of project funding and technical assistance proposals.

Another roadblock to reaping the kind of rewards that can come into the creative industry come from the players themselves. According to the entertainment lawyer the creative players have definitely stood in the way of their own business development and realising their full income earning potential.

“They have failed to place enough emphasis on partnerships with professional administrators and the establishment of properly run trade organisations. There is clearly need for more adequate collective representation, advocacy and  information dissemination among creative practitioners. The level of ignorance is way too high,” opined Stanbury.

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