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EDITORIAL: Broadening musical horizons

marciadottin, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Broadening musical horizons

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IT IS NOW generally accepted that we live in a globalized world, which has removed traditional barriers and opened new opportunities.
    This has seen a flow of goods and services no longer primarily from north to south, with the benefits principally going to the developed world. Today’s world demands one thing: only the very best in whatever is offered.
    In Barbados we should have long recognized this maxim. Using entertainer Rihanna as our guiding star in the very competitive and often cut-throat entertainment industry, she has excelled and is in demand worldwide.
    She could never have been the success she is if her talent was limited to the local market or even to the Caribbean. This points to the importance of an international market if our artistes are to reap success.
    There are many challenges on that path to success as indicated this week by music industry executive Stephen Lubin. He pinpointed the possible opportunities through such vehicles as the European Partnership Agreement, which can open doors into Europe.
    But even before we look to break into the international market, our artistes should seek to be successful in the domestic market.
    This means that their music must be heard and be available, not seasonally but all year. The technology must be effectively utilized for both production and marketing.
    Mass media remains critical for the music producer, even with the shifts in technology and delivery, which requires the promotion of the music be no longer left only to a few radio DJs.
    There are no big labels in Barbados to ensure that an artiste breaks through; neither are there record companies trying to entrench profit margins in an industry where the business model for distribution has drastically changed.
     While the status quo is no more, there are still opportunities for our entertainers. But our range of music must be expanded beyond that which appeals to a popular crowd from June to August during the annual Crop Over Festival and a few loyal supporters afterwards.
    It must also be recognized that access, and not assets, is now the critical success factor in the music industry. Getting people to pay for this access is key.
    While music streaming and piracy have created challenges, there are new opportunities ranging from supplying application developers to provision of ringtones.
    We must also expose the hundreds of thousands of visitors coming here every year to our music whether they want to buy a few songs or an entire compilation.
    This is not a situation for bellyaching and lamentation. Our entertainers must not sit and reflect on yesterday while mourning the passing of the good “ole days”.
    In this ever-changing world that would be tragic, given the talent out there. Visibility and opening of new revenue streams must be the number one priority for our entertainers as they seek new opportunities.