Ja music confab starts tomorrow

Industry issues to take spotlight

Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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A number of issues affecting the music industry will be put on the table for discussion at the sixth annual Jamaica Music Conference set for various locations across the Corporate Area, starting tomorrow and runs until Sunday.

Among the topics being discussed are: Making money from music; How to make those early steps in the industry; Touring and its requirements; Women in music; and, The current state of dancehall music in the global sphere.

Founder and CEO of the Jamaica Music Conference, Kwasi Bonsu told the Jamaica Observer that these topics were found to be the most pressing and, therefore, it was decided that the event should discuss these elements through the workshops, panel discussions, networking session, a youth summit and performances which all go into making the conference what it is.

“This year we are in building mode. It's all about having constructive conversations aimed at strengthening the foundation of the industry. We want to tap into music entrepreneurs and professionals in all the critical areas necessary to create dialogue which can lead to decisions and development about creating a nexus from which growth can take place,” he said.

For Bonsu and his team, the framework of this year's conference came out of a series of strategic meetings with players in the industry in various markets to ensure that the discussions at the conference were not just in a vacuum, but represented the thoughts, ideas and experiences of a wide cross section of quarters. Consultations were held in South Florida, New York, Washington DC, Ghana in Africa, and Jamaica.

A key component coming out of these consultations was the need to bring out the base of the industry.

“Over the years, the conference has not been able to attract the base of the local music industry in the numbers we would have liked. As a result, we have always been missing the artistes and their managers and other members of the teams that work with artistes in the numbers we would like. This year we have done a lot more personal outreach and built a good street team to engage this segments of the market. This is the most robust we have ever been, as previously due to budgetary constraints, we were confined to utilise on-line platforms to get the word out. We are also tapping into the youth market with our Youth Summits. A whole culture shift has to take place in order for us to understand the industry. Previously being educated was never associated with the music industry and we have to change the way that is seen, and what better way than to start with our young people,” said Bonsu.

The conference kicks off tomorrow with sessions at Boardwalk Beach in Portmore, St Catherine. On Friday, the sessions move to the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where there will be workshops on publishing and publicity. Friday's events wrap with a session on the sound system as well as the 'clean' clash at the House of Dancehall. On Saturday, all discussions and workshops will be held at the University of the West Indies, Mona with the performance at Jamnesia in Bull Bay, St Andrew. The conference closes at Kingston Dub Club on Sunday.

Panellists this year include: artistes Freddie McGregor, Marcia Griffiths, Tifa and D'Angel; US-based publicist Ronnie Tomlinson and noted journalist Pat Meschino of Billboard magazine.

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