THE billion-dollar Global music industry has changed rapidly over the past 10 years alone. Some may argue that the digital age has made it that much more accessible with social media platforms supporting artiste and new music discovery. However, the introduction of streaming shook up the industry causing adaptation and change. YouTube along with other social media platforms have birthed stars allowing unknown artistes to reach parts of the world they couldn’t imagine and creating a demand or following for their music long before any record label picks them up. But how do artistes get discovered online? And how can Caribbean musicians leverage digital platforms to export their music globally?
These are some of the questions the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) is attempting to answer with its Business of Music (BOM) programme. “Understanding of the digital music industry is imperative if an artiste is going to succeed and the Business of Music training programme aims to build the capacity of artistes, managers, producers and those involved in the music industry,” informed Allyson Francis, Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.
Since 2017, the Agency has worked with Business Support Organisations (specifically the Coalition on Services Industries) from across the region to enable those involved in the industry to participate in BOM sessions via the online self-learning platform, and face to face workshops. A new dimension to this training was the instructor led webinars. Over 120 people have participated in these initiatives thus far and most recently, the Agency held a two-day workshop in collaboration with COSCAP (Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Inc.), the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the ‘knowledge company’ Music Ally Ltd in Barbados.
The workshop welcomed 23 participants from nine Caribbean countries who gained insight on topics such as the mystery of YouTube’s algorithm and how to optimise it; how to develop a lean and mean online campaign; how to leverage tools such as Chartmetric amongst others. Participants also performed digital health checks to get a better understanding of how they or their artistes are viewed online and increased their understanding of how their music can be discovered.
“This isn’t an age now where you can simply sit back and relax and hope that people get involved with you and your music simply by making music available. You’ve got to be regularly interacting with people,” stressed the CEO and Co-founder of Music Ally Ltd – Paul Brindley.
“You have to go where the music fan is so that means making sure that all of those channels are absolutely properly optimised, so your Youtube, Spotify, all the social media platforms and make sure they are all linked together,” he continued. “Make the music fans lives as easy as possible and think through the eyes of the music fan; think how are they going to discover me?”
“Our managers, musicians, and artistes need to leverage the tools that are out there and do everything they can to increase their chances of being discovered,” commented Francis. “At Caribbean Export we are committed to providing the necessary support, but we can only take you so far.”
One participant from Saint Lucia Akeem Anderson, artiste and producer from Onel Sound Productions summed up his experience, “The last two days have been nothing but beneficial. The majority of us who have been in attendance are pretty much individuals who have gotten our feet wet already in the business and in the industry. We’re getting some gigs, we’ve had some success, and we have a little bit of notoriety. However, the information that they’ve disseminated is going to allow us to chisel in our characteristics and our skills, honing in on our good qualities and strengths and maximise our resources however limited or expansive that they may be to reach not just a regional audience but also an international audience in order to generate the revenue we desire for our work and our intellectual property.”