An 'Ineffable' 2019 for musicWednesday, January 01, 2020
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Based on sales figures from Billboard Magazine, 2019 was another strong year for American reggae. Bands from the United States again dominated the publication's reggae chart; several of them are associated with Ineffable Music Group.
In fact, the California company's president Thomas Cussins, told the Jamaica Observer recently that "2019 was the best year to date for our artistes."
Ineffable Music released four of the nine best-selling reggae albums on Billboard -- by Stick Figure, The Movement, Steel Pulse and Collie Buddz.
Mass Manipulation, Steel Pulse's album, is nominated for Best Reggae Album at next year's Grammy Awards. It is distributed through Rootfire, Ineffable Music's non-profit label.
Jamaican singer Keznamdi is part of the Ineffable Music camp. They have also worked with Akae Beka and Pressure Buss Pipe of the US Virgin Islands.
Born in the United Kingdom and raised in California, Cussins started Ineffable Music Group in 2006 with Igor Katz, his college roommate. He believes a hands-on approach by their 30-member staff has made the company successful.
"We’ve continued to find ways of cutting out the middleman and being able to save our artistes time and money by developing direct relationships to get them the best possible placement for their new releases across all platforms. We also re-launched the label arm of the company, Ineffable Records, and via that arm have been able to expand our reach even more," he said.
That expansion included creating relationships with influential digital platforms such as SiriusXM, Pandora and Apple Music. It's a strategy that has benefitted acts like Stick Figure, whose World on Fire was Billboard's number one reggae album for 2019.
Along with label-mates Iya Terra and The Movement, the California-based quintet also played to 10,000 people at the vaunted Red Rocks in Colorado.
Hybrid by Collie Buddz was also proof of the Bermudan artiste's appeal to fans in different markets. He was previously signed to the major Sony conglomerate.
Cussins says he discovered Jamaican music by listening to his mother's music collection which included albums by Bob Marley and Chaka Demus and Pliers. While a student at the University of California (Santa Cruz), he attended concerts there by Barrington Levy, The Wailing Souls and Eek A Mouse, among others.
For 2020, he sees even more progress for Ineffable Music Group and Ineffable Records.
"I would say there are things we’d like to improve on and grow from for 2020. I believe we are singularly positioned to best promote any reggae-influenced release in the US and beyond, and we definitely would like to work with more Jamaican acts and artistes from around the world on trying to expose them to the huge American reggae fan base," he said.
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