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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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In a similar vein there is data on sales in the countries of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. However, there are no studies that breakdown the sales by genre. It is also that there is some non-Latin repertoire in these sales.

Consequently, it is too difficult to suggest what share the Dominican Republic would have in the Latin American and Iberian markets.

It is observed that most artists earn more from overseas tours and performances than from the sale of records, cassettes and CDs. Several artists and managers indicated that the bulk of their earnings come from performances. In many instances soundcarriers operate more like promotional items. Consequently, it is estimated that performance incomes are at least double if not triple the earnings from the sale and export of soundcarriers. There is no reliable data, however, to confirm the quantum of monies being earned.

The contribution of cultural and festival tourism is also inconclusive since there have not been any visitor surveys done for any of the festivals or major cultural events that have music as a major component. It is noted, however, that the month of July, when the Merengue festival is held, is the month with the highest level of visitor arrivals by a significant margin.

–  –  –

“Still Grooving”

• Second heaviest segment of music purchasers

• Between 30 and 54 years old

• Mean average of CD purchases per year is 39, with 34% purchasing more than 50 CDs per year

• Favorite genre is Latin9specifically Ballads and Tropical), Dance is second choice followed by

• Classic Rock Biggest CD/cassette collections (even mix of formats) averaging

• Buy more music than five years ago and spend the most time listening to music • 63% between 30 and 39 and married with children • 53% female vs. male • 60% speak Spanish at home all the time

• Ethnic background is predominantly Mexican and Caribbean (Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican Descent).

"Young Hipsters"

• Heaviest segment of music purchasers

• Between 14 and 29 years old, with nearly 80% under age 24

• Mean average of CD purchases per year is 43, with 46% purchasing more than 50 CDs per year

• Favorite genre is Latin (specifically Pop in Spanish and Tropical), Rap/HipHop and Pop tie for second choice with R&B coming in third

• Big CD collections(some cassettes), averaging 164

• Interest in music is very high, especially new music such as Rap/Hip-Hop

• Buy more music than 5 years ago, reflecting an attitude that music is better now and newer artists are more appealing • 60% male vs female • 53% are living with their parents, 42% speak Spanish at home all the time

• Ethnic background is predominantly Mexican and Caribbean (Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican descent)

–  –  –

Austerlitz, Paul. (1997). Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity.

(Philadelphia: Temple University Press).

Birnbaum, Larry. (1997). “Michel Camilo” Latino (summer): 6-7.

Davis, Martha Ellen. (1994) “Music and Black Ethnicity in the Dominican Republic” in Gerard Behague, ed., Music and Black Ethnicity: The Caribbean and South America. Miami: North-South Center, University of Miami.

Duany, Jorge. (1994) “Ethnicity, Identity and Music: An anthropological Analysis of the Dominican Merengue” in Gerard Behague, ed., Music and Black Ethnicity: The Caribbean and South America. Miami: North-South Center, University of Miami.

Lannert, John. (1998). “Latin Notas” Billboard. December 12.

.... (1999). “Viva Puerto Rico: The Island’s Avid Music Fans support All Genres and Break New Acts”. Billboard Latin Music 6 Pack. February 20.

....(2000). “Latin Notas” Billboard. March 11.

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

Negus, Keith. (1999). Music Genres and Corporate Cultures. (London:


Ross, Karl. (1999). “The Smooth Solo Success of Elvis Crespo” Billboard Latin Music 6 Pack. February 20.

.....(2000). “Music as a Meaty Stew: Dominican Folk Rhythms Revitalize Modern Merengue” Billboard Latin Music 6 Pack. April 29.

Steward, Sue (1999). Salsa: Musical Heartbeat of Latin America. London: Thames & Hudson.

–  –  –


Introduction: The Music and the Entertainment Sector The music industry in Trinidad and Tobago is largely a product of its festival economy. The annual pre-lenten Carnival is the largest such event in the Anglophone Caribbean. Calypso music and the Steelpan are the two musical artforms associated with the Carnival. Additional and derivative musical forms have emerged since the 1970s. Calypso has spawned soca and rapso. Spanish Christmas songs, parang, have been combined with Calypso to create parangsoca. Calypso has been influenced by other Caribbean music such as dancehall, zouk, salsa, meringue and cadence. The Indian musical artform of chutney has become more mainstream in recent years and has been mixed with calypso to form soca-chutney.

Music from Trinidad and Tobago has been commercialized and internationalized since the early twentieth century. It was one of the first artforms from a Third World area to be recorded by companies such as Columbia and Victor which made field expeditions to record calypsos, folk songs, instrumentals and Indian music. In the 1930s, artists like Atilla the Hun and Roaring Lion recorded at the Decca and the American Record Company. These recordings were targeted at the immigrant West Indian population, middle class Trinidadians and the markets of the United States, England and West Africa.

The artists, however, were not the major beneficiaries of these activities as most of the profits accrued to the recording companies. In addition, Calypso was subject to high levels of copyright infringement and piracy, the most notable example being that of the Andrew Sisters recording of Lord Invader's 'Rum and Coca Cola', which sold more than five million copies in the US in the early 1940s.

Lord Invader and Lionel Belasco, an impresario/entrepreneur, sued and won a settlement against the Andrew Sisters and Decca.

In the post World War II years and especially since the 1960s, the export of music from Trinidad has been facilitated by the spread of Trinidad-type carnival celebrations throughout the region and among the Caribbean diaspora in the metropolitan cities of New York, London and Toronto. In the mid-1970s, the advent of soca - an upbeat derivative of calypso - created new market potential.

Arrow, a calypsonian from Monserrat, was able to capitalize on this wave and achieve international success, especially with his hit 'Hot, Hot, Hot', soca's biggest selling record ever, with sales of over 4 million copies.

The 1970s saw the emergence of soca, which became the dominant genre by the 1980s. Since then the industry has seen a whole host of innovations in sounds.

Artists were integrating Orisha or Shango rhythms, local genres like rapso, chutney and parang, experimentations with international genres like jazz, funk, rock and house, and Caribbean sounds like dancehall, zouk and salsa. An international market also emerged for other genres of music such as steelband music. For example, steelband music recordings have been able to establish a profile in the classical and world music markets. Several recording firms that have traditionally produced soca music have found that the steelband music market is becoming more lucrative and sustainable.

These influences helped to expand the dimensions of the music industry. The music bands took on new proportions as their lead singers moved from doing cover versions of other artists' calypsos to performing their own songs. Many of these bands and an increasingly larger number of artists are able to make a good living from performing around the world, especially in the approximately seventy overseas Caribbean carnivals in North America and Europe. Earnings from overseas performances are several times larger than the export of recordings. These earnings are difficult to estimate because they are unlikely to be captured in traditional balance of payments statistics.

The overseas Caribbean carnivals are an important feature of the industry because they account for a large percentage of the year-round work for musical artists and other carnivalists. These carnivals have grown rapidly since the early 1990s and are now the largest street festivals and generators of economic activity in their respective locations. As table 1 illustrates, the ‘Notting Hill’ carnival attracts over 2 million people over two days and generates over £20 million in visitor expenditures. Similarly, the ‘Labour Day’ carnival in New York earns US$75 million while the ‘Caribana’ festival in Toronto generates Cnd$200 million. In spite of the economic impact of the globalized carnival industry there is an absence of a clear strategy in respect of exploiting its specialty character and the merchandising potential.

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The music industry is a sub-sector of the entertainment industry which also includes film and video production, commercial theatre and dance, costume design and production, sound, stage and lighting, visual arts and cultural tourism. The foreign exchange earnings of the entertainment sector were estimated at TT$ 267 million in 1995 and $274 million in 1996 (see table 2 below).

These earnings positioned the industry in seventh position among the major export sectors in the Trinidad and Tobago economy (see table 3 below). The main contributor to the overseas earnings of the sector comes from cultural tourism whose share of approximately 67%, is largely a result of visitor expenditures at the annual Carnival festival. The next major source of income is from overseas music performances, generating between 22 – 24% of earnings. Earnings from the recording industry are ranked third.

The Recording Industry The recording industry in Trinidad and Tobago has been in operation since the early twentieth century when artists began recording their music and thus transformed the artform from folk music to popular music. Since then the artform has been responding increasingly to the imperative of commercial concerns. For instance, the income of artists from live performances became directly related to media exposure via radio airplay. This norm still applies today. Almost all calypsonians, except the most popular, produce records and CDs so that they can get airplay or win road march and other Carnival competitions, which determines the hits and the opportunities for overseas work.

The issue of airplay for local music has been contentious. The music industry has argued for local content regulations to expand local airplay. The argument is borne out by the extent to which foreign product dominates the airwaves. Data on the level of foreign versus local content on the radio stations for 1994/95 shows that before Carnival the airplay of calypso/soca and pan is 9% of the play lists of the radio stations. During Carnival local content rises to 36% but drops to 15% in the post-Carnival period. Recent data on radio broadcast indicates that music from the region accounts for 26.5% of radio stations logs. This level of airplay is the lowest in the region (Berry 1999). This is considered problematic because radio broadcast is a determining factor in consumption patterns.

The mass reproduction of recordings has been plagued with business failures. In its embryonic stage the industry depended on artists recording in New York and through the field expeditions of US recording companies like Victor and Columbia. A local recording studio did not emerge until the 1940s. RCA, the largest recording company in the world at the time, and successor to Victor, established a subsidiary in Trinidad in 1965.This venture proved to be unprofitable. One of the explanations for the failure was the fact that most calypso recordings were being done in New York through the Brooklyn network of Caribbean record shops. RCA closed in the mid-1970s and the pressing plant was taken over by KH Records with financial support from the government. KH Records pressing plant suffered difficulties and closed in the early 1980s. KH was eventually taken over by Coral Studios which is still in operation but only functions as a recording studio. Another manufacturing facility, Semp, opened up in the late 1970s but was affected by low activity outside of the carnival season.

–  –  –

Strakers and JW Records invest in CD manufacturing costs in return for a large share of the product as well as publishing and licensing rights.

This business model has impacted negatively on the viability of mass reproduction facilities in Trinidad. This problem has continued into the 1990s.

Caribbean Sound Basin closed down the country's last vinyl pressing plant in 1995 has moved the mastering equipment to Barbados under a joint venture arrangement with Best Music, the successor to WIRL, the major record producer in Barbados for many years. The result is that most Trinidadian artists record and manufacture in the United States, Canada and Barbados. With the advent of Compact Discs this problem has become even more pronounced as there are no world class CD plants in the region.

The structure of the music industry in Trinidad and Tobago is such that its strength is in artistic and intellectual production. In terms of musical output it is second only to Jamaica in the Anglophone Caribbean. There are a large number of artists, songwriters, composers, lyricists, producers, arrangers (see table 4) and a wide array of musical genres, from calypso and its derivative soca, to parang, chutney, rapso and gospel music. These artists and artforms have been backed up by an expanding number of indigenous recording studios and pre-production houses, especially since the mid-1980s when digital technologies allowed for more affordable recording production systems The shift from analogue recording technology to digital has allowed for small studios to compete with larger ones..

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