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«Prepared for Caribbean Export Development Agency Barbados April 2001 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The rapid growth of an intellectual property and ...»

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It is also that reggae is still often associated with summer time, which restricts the marketing possibilities. One of the main problems highlighted by industry analysts is that the market has been saturated with inferior product and ‘onetrack albums’ of the dancehall genre which served to meet the initial demand in the early 1990s but did not have much staying power. The Japanese market has proved to be more of a roots reggae album market. The same seems to apply for the concert market. A September 1999 tour by promoter Sting had a disappointing attendance of an average of 4,000. In contrast, an August 1999 tour including Freddie Mc Gregor, Inner Circle, Aswad and Anthony B, played two shows and attracted audiences of 25,000 and 30,000. Accordingly, the top selling artists are of those that have albums with roots reggae or broader pop appeal, for example, Louchie Lou & Michie One, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Aswad, Snow, Janet Kay, CJ Lewis Yami Bolo and Diana King. These artists had gold and platinum4 album sales in the mid-1990s (MBI 1997: 50; The Gleaner 1999).

Billboard’s analysis of the top reggae artists, albums, labels, imprints and distributors indicates that there is a dominance of non-Jamaican firms in the US reggae market (see appendices 1-3). In the period 1997 to 1999 two significant trends are discernable. The first is the increased market share of the independent imprints, labels and distributors and the decline of the major firms like Virgin, Polygram and Island Records. This trend is exemplified by the success of VP Records, a Jamaican owned independent firm operating in the US, which specializes in dancehall. It has held the number one spot for the last three years in the category of imprint and label. VP also has the honor of producing Beenie Man, the top selling reggae artist in the last three years. It is noteworthy that other Jamaican artists such as Buju Banton, Bounty Killer and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers have featured prominently in the top ten reggae artists.

Jamaican labels such as Shocking Vibes, Germain and Penthouse have also Reggae Sunsplash was first held in Japan in 1985 before the rival Japansplash was started In Japan international certifications for platinum and gold album sales are 200,000 and 100,000 units, respectively.

maintained a presence in the charts with the success of the Jamaican artists as local publishing companies.

The second trend is the growing dominance of compilations as opposed to single artist albums in the top selling records. In 1999 seven of the fifteen top selling albums are compilations. VP Records heads the list of compilations with its series of Reggae Gold and Strictly the Best. Polygram’s Pure Reggae and Reggae Party were top selling compilations as well. This trend differs from the situation in 1997 when Virgin Records topped the list of firms with charted albums from UB40, Shaggy and Maxi Priest. The growth of compilations is indicative of a number of trends. The first is the continued dominance of dancehall as a subgenre in the US market. The second is the reduction of the market to the core fan base in urban centers, which represents a decline in international sales. The final is the influence of reggae is returning to the Jamaican scene in that what is popular at home is defining international sales, especially among the core fan base in the US.

It is also noteworthy that the sales in the reggae catalog5 category is largely driven by albums from the late great Bob Marley (see appendices 1-3). Bob Marley’s album Legend was also the top R&B catalog album in 1997 and 1998.

The Legend album has spent 547 weeks on the catalog charts third in rank to Pink Floyd’s albums. This performance results in Bob Marley and the Wailers being one of the top artist in the pop catalog in the late 1990s and Tuff Gong placing high in the top pop catalog imprints. Bob Marley’s sustained position at the top of the charts has earned him the title of artist of the century according to Time magazine. It is this universal appeal of Bob Marley that was exploited in the December 1999 Tribute concert “One Love”, which featured a pan-genre line-up of superstars: Erykah Badu, Sheryl Crow, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, Sarah McLachlan, Seal, Rita Marley and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. The tribute Concert was broadcast on the cable network ‘TnT’. Islandlife has defined this as its new marketing approach to the music market and has invested in a new festival centre at James Bond beach.

Island has also invested in the audio-visual sector, specifically film production, for example, the movie ‘Third World Cop’. The aim is to produce films, which tap into the culture of Jamaica and use Jamaican artists for the soundtrack. This represents a shift in the traditional business model from a supply push one to a demand-pull approach. In many respects Island is attempting to duplicate the impact that the movie ‘The Harder They Come’ had on the marketability of reggae music back in the early 1970s. The films are worthwhile investments in Catalog albums are 2-year old titles that have fallen below No. 100 on the Billboard 200 or reissues of older albums.

themselves, as exemplified by the commercial success of ‘Dancehall Queen’ in the mid-1990s.

Concerts like the Bob Marley tribute, which capitalize on the synergy between the tourism and entertainment sectors and have a broadcast and a tourism appeal are emerging to be an innovative strategy. This is reflected in the growth of festivals and the expanding role of the Jamaica Tourism Board.

Table 9 lists some of the major festivals and gives some perspective on the visitor arrivals during the months of the festivals. More detailed study is required to determine the direct contribution of the festivals in terms of tourism pull and contribution to earnings in the sector.

–  –  –

Tourism also has the impact of creating additional audiences and markets for the local entertainment sector. Table 10 shows that entertainment expenditures accounted for 10.3% of visitor spending in 1998. With visitor expenditures of approximately US$1,096 million, this amounts to $112.9 million being spent on entertainment from the hospitality sector. An example, of the contribution of the tourism sector to entertainment is the contribution of Sandals Resorts. Sandals estimates that it spent J$95 million on entertainment of various sorts, for example, artists such as pianists, mento and jazz bands, dance groups, fire dancers, contortionists, comedians and acrobats (Daily Observer 1999).

–  –  –


The contribution of the entertainment industry to economic development is difficult to assess and quantify. However, the contribution of this industry is considered to be very significant and is increasing at a rapid rate (WTO Trade Review, 1998: 16).

It is estimated that reggae sales in the US between 1992 and 1993 were US$270 million dollars. This is based on a percentage share of the ‘Urban Contemporary’ sales because the genre is not captured in sales data (Watson 1995: 2). Another estimate suggests that the overall earnings for the Jamaican recording industry could be as high as US$300 million -- 25% of the worldwide income from recorded reggae music. This figure does not include income from concert performances, sales of ancillary product, tours and reggae music festivals which is estimated to be another US$50 million (Stanbury 1997).

These estimates of the earnings of the reggae music industry upon analysis appear to be an exaggeration of the global value of reggae music and the share that Jamaica commands. It is also noted that Jamaica’s share of the earnings in the reggae music market are impacted on by problems such as the nonrepatriation of overseas income by artists and entrepreneurs, minimum local value added, the lack of a national agency to collect mechanical and performing rights royalties (JAMPRO 1996) and high levels of copyright infringement (Cuthbert & Wilson 1990). These problems are related to the fact that the sector is highly fragmented and lacks a strong institutional framework. These issues are reflected in the following comments from an entertainment sector specialist at


It has been recognized that the major decision-makers within music are concentrated outside of Jamaica. In addition, the income being derived from music and its attendant value-added products are not being returned to Jamaica. The success of Jamaican music to date has had very little to do with government policy or incentives and more to do with the struggles of poverty and hardship and the use of informal channels to market local music products (JAMPRO 1996: 62).

These observations are illustrative of the neglect and indifference that the sector has suffered from. It is only recently, through the auspices of JAMPRO, that there has been any governmental support. Much more is needed, however. There is a clear need to build on the existing institutional capacity by establishing an umbrella sector association, a national collection administration agency, legislation and mechanisms to enforce copyrights, education and training, and adequate financing to facilitate product design and innovation (Holland and Kozul-Wright 1997: 3).

There is increasing recognition of the economic potential of the music industry and the entertainment sector as a whole on the part of the government. In 1996 the government adopted a National Industrial Policy (NIP). The NIP targets five strategic industry clusters drawn from the services, science and technology, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Entertainment is embraced in the services cluster along with tourism, telecommunications, shipping and berthing and informatics. Under the NIP nine Industry Advisory Councils were established to facilitate private sector input in defining the most appropriate economic and trade policy measures. The entertainment sector was selected as one of the nine sectors to be allocated an IAC.

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Alleyne, M (1994) “Positive Vibration?: Capitalist Textual Hegemony and Bob Marley,” Paper presented at Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

Billboard (1999) “After the Sale: Label Founders Reflect” December 25, 1, 77.

Bourne, C and S.M. Allgrove (1997) “Prospects for Exports of Entertainment Services from the Caribbean: The Case of Music,” Caribbean Dialogue 3.3: 1-12.

BPI (1999). BPI Market Information – Sales by Type of Music. June, No. 124.

Chang, K.O. and W. Chen (1998) Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers).

Cooper, C. (1993) Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the “Vulgar” Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (London: Macmillan).

Cushman, T. (1991), “Rich Rastas and Communist Rockers: A Comparative Study of the Origin, Diffusion and Defusion of Revolutionary Musical Codes,” Journal of Popular Culture 25:3.

Cuthbert, M. & G. Wilson. (1990). "Recording Artists in Jamaica: Payola, Piracy

and Copyright," in J. Lent, ed., Caribbean Popular Culture. Bowling Green, Ohio:

Bowling Green Univ. Popular Press: 64-78.

Daily Observer (1999) “Sandals shows support for local industry” December 16.

Gleaner (1999). “Reggae Losing its Grip on Japan” September 10.

Hardcopy (1999) “Laser Works CEO Raving Mad as CD Single Price Hikes” September 21.

Holland, J. & Z. Kozul-Wright (1997). Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) Review: The Music Industry. UNCTAD: Geneva.

IFPI (1999) World Sales 1998. London: IFPI Secretariat.

JAMPRO (1996). Marketing Plan for Music and Entertainment, Kingston: Jamaica Promotions.

Manuel, P. (1995) Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae (Philadelphia: Temple University Press).

Mensah, K (1997) “Reggae needs a new direction to escape its boom-bust cycle” Music Business International, June, 49 – 51.

Stanbury, L. (1997). “Music can bail us out,” The Weekend Observer, Nov. 28.

Star (1999) “CD plant to open soon” March 6.

Wallis, R. And K. Malm (1984) Big Sounds from Small Peoples (London: Constable).

Watson, P. (1995) The Situational Analysis of the Entertainment (Recorded Music) Industry. Prepared for the Planning Institute of Jamaica on behalf of the Government of Jamaica and the United Nations Development Programme.

WTO (1998) Trade Review – Jamaica (http://www.wto.org/wto/reviews/ tprb85.htm).

Weber, J. (1996) “The Political Economy of Reggae Music.” Department of Theatre and Communication Arts. Gannon University Erie, PA. Paper presented to the Conference on Caribbean Culture. University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

–  –  –

The music industry in the Dominican Republic has a long history of highly creative music production, for example, in genres such as meringue, son and bachata. In the Dominican Republic there are a large number of authors, composers and performers, as well as a proliferation of recording companies, music bands and radio stations. However, like many of its Caribbean neighbors, the business environment has suffered from a lack of investment capital, a weak institutional framework in terms of industrial, trade and intellectual property policies and high levels of piracy and copyright infringement.

As the second most populous territory, with over eight million people, the Dominican Republic is viewed as a large market relative to its several Caribbean neighbors. It has the highest GDP and has been experiencing the fastest rate of growth in the region in recent years. Its GDP per capita of $1,925 places it third from the bottom ahead of Cuba and Haiti. This observation suggests that purchasing power is not as strong as in other territories. However, given its large market and the large influx of tourist 1.88 million (1998) this market can be viewed as the largest in the region.

Another factor that attests to the large size of the market is the proliferation of radio stations on the island. There are close to two hundred stations spread throughout the island. What is observable but not fully documented is the fact that local repertoire enjoys a favorable share of the airplay. Spanish music repertoire also dominates the airwaves. This makes the Dominican Republic a Latin Music market, which has emerged to be one of the fastest rising genres in terms of global sales in the late 1990s.

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