'Knowledge is power'
Shaggy pitches education ahead of IMC

GIVEN current developments in the financial sector, Shaggy feels Jamaica's entertainment fraternity can benefit from the five-day Island Music Conference (IMC) scheduled for February 8 to 12.

"Financial literacy is important... You can make the money, but you have to know what to do with it," Shaggy, the event's co-conceptualiser, told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

"If you look at the climate right now, not just in publishing or touring, even with financial literacy, there's no better time than now. So it's time for us to just educate, not just the new turks that are coming but the older ones. I've been in the business for 30 years and I've been in conversations that I am learning things so the objective is really to educate. It's for people who are in the industry or who are considering to be in the industry to let them know, not just the music business but the business of music," he continued.

In recent weeks Jamaica's financial sector has been embroiled in several scandals which has caused a distrust of investment institutions and a call for a change in the banking laws. The distrust stems from several investors, including sprint legend Usain Bolt, being fleeced of millions of US dollars.

The confab, which will be held under the theme 'Cari Culture', is slated for the Courtleigh Auditorium, Jamaica Pegasus hotel, and the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites — in New Kingston.

The two-time Grammy winner said the digital age has opened myriad income-earning opportunities and, as entertainment practitioners, knowledge is power.

"You used to have certain set avenues of income, now you have multiple avenues of income... You never used to have YouTube. Now you have Apple Music, you have Spotify, you have Sound Exchange — you have all these things and they're coming at you from all these angles. You have to educate yourself and [learn] what they are about, how they operate, and how they operate territorially — because in a lot of things the territorial laws are different. So many things are changing. It's a different time and now is the best time," he reiterated.

Speakers at the IMC include attorneys Lloyd Stanbury, Andrew Krents, and Sapna Lal. YouTube's Director of Black Music and Culture Tuma Basa; Tanya Lawson from Audiomack; Madeline Nelson from Amazon; Diego Herrera, Pandora; Loretta Gadson of BMI; Damien Granderson and Steven Carless from Warner; and SeaniB from BBC1Xtra are some of the industry experts who will attend.

"These are movers and shakers in their respective fields... The good thing about this conference is that a lot of people are going to be available to have conversations, so you can network. You should use the opportunity at this conference to network, get people's numbers to get connections to further your brand," Shaggy suggested. "I hope that at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, we will be in a better place to conduct business on a more professional level."

Brian Bonitto

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