Starting today and lasting until Sunday, players in the local music industry will have the opportunity to participate in the fourth annual staging of the Jamaica Music Conference.
Brainchild of US-based attorney and artiste Kwasi Bonsu, the conference was created as a means to provide networking and continuous training for people in the music industry.
"Initially the plan was to establish a publishing company, but my business partner and I quickly realised that many of the artistes did not have the required documentation to protect their work and lacked an understanding of the industry, and as such were not registered with performance rights companies and copyright agencies. So based on the feedback, the decision was taken back in 2012 to stage a conference to raise awareness among our community," he told the
Bonsu said the conference has three main aims: to provide a platform for networking, to create an environment for continuous education, and to provide the pipeline which connects and exposes artistes to professionals in various positions connected to the music industry.
Over the years Bonsu and his team have found it challenging to attract artistes to attend the conference, but noted that the business side of the Jamaica entertainment industry is slowly evolving and therefore, this will take time.
"We do not have a culture of conference attendance and this has to be seen within the context of the history. Our music industry began informally and we are now at the stage where we are transitioning into a business. So we should not beat up on ourselves to much as we are still a young genre. However, what we should recognise is that we are a cultural superpower and we need to put the formalities into place and change the negative stereotypes which often plague us. It is time to step up and create professional standard," he noted.
The conference commences today with a service day, where the music industry is being taken into two Corporate Area schools — Pembroke Hall High School and the Alpha Boys’ School. According to Bonsu, this will see a mini-version of the conference being showcased to young aspiring players in the music industry to give them an idea of the plethora of careers and professions available in this sector. This will be followed by a welcome reception at Nanook Enterprises in St Andrew.
Tomorrow and Saturday will be filled with panel discussions and presentations. Come tomorrow, ‘Entertainment as an Export’ will be the major topic at a workshop being organised by Jamaica Promotions Corporations.This will be followed by a presentation on the Jamaica Sound System which will be held at the Edna Manley College. Saturday’s presentations will focus on ‘Music and Social Change’, ‘Music and Technology’, and Music, Marketing and Monetisation. A one-on-one with the winner of
The Voice, Tessanne Chin, will follow these presentations. Saturday’s programmes wrap up with a session at Jamnesia featuring established and emerging artistes.
The Jamaica Music Conference 2016 culminates with a speed networking session and beach day at the Boardwalk Beach in Hellshire, St Catherine, on Sunday, and a closing reception at Kingston Dub Club in St Andrew on Sunday.
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