Reggae Artists Leverage Copyright for Economic Development
“Early Jamaican artists faced a quandary like blues artists such as Leadbelly or Muddy Waters, stripped of the publishing rights to many of their songs. But Jamaica’s small island status magnified the problem. Without access to major-league capital or markets, Jamaica’s recording industry and its artists made little progress while the United States and Europe advanced.
“Today, the main demand for reggae lies outside of the Caribbean, so the industry remains underdeveloped on the island. “We don’t have the populous or the liquidity to support the superstar lifestyle,” says Steve Golding, Chair of JACAP [Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers], Jamaica’s equivalent to the United States’ Association of Songwriters, Composers and Publishers (ASCAP). As proof, Jamaica has only one major record label, VP Records, which functions as a New York based production and distribution house, and does not formally represent artists.
“Golding believes that building up the industry’s legal and business infrastructure could foster its development. Success “is all about positioning the product,” he says, sounding like a marketing executive for Pepsi rather than a one-time guitarist for Peter Tosh.”
The Global Parish. (No title). Feb. 19, 2006.
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