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Musically Speaking- The Future of Jamaican Reggae Music

By January 10, 2014Articles
Lloyd Stanbury Island Stage contributor

Muscially Speaking

The Future of Jamaican Reggae Music

By Lloyd Stanbury, Entertainment Attorney and Music Business Consultant


Greetings, and let me take this opportunity to congratulate the Island Stage team on the successful launch of this quarterly magazine designed to highlight and discuss Caribbean lifestyle and cultural issues. I look forward to making regular contributions to the magazine, and sharing in discussions with you from time to time. This, my first piece, is my take on the future of Jamaican Reggae music.

According to the 2013 Digital Music Report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), digital revenues are driving the recorded music industry towards recovery. For the first time since 1999 annual global recorded music revenues grew. Between 2011 and 2012 the IFPI data records a 0.3 per cent increase which has been credited to downloads, subscriptions and other digital channels. Reference Link This is indeed welcomed news for the global music industry; but what does it mean in the context of Jamaican Reggae music.

The reports I have read, and the information coming to me from credible industry sources would suggest that while the global recorded music industry experienced growth for the first time in 13 years in 2012, in that same year Jamaican Reggae music sales in America fell to its lowest level ever in over 20 years. Jamaican Observer article There are many explanations offered as to why Jamaican recorded music sales and live concert revenues have fallen in recent years, while other music genres and non-Jamaican Reggae have experienced growth. Some explanations include, the backlash from the pro-gay community to the promotion of violence against gays by certain Jamaican Dancehall artists, the association of a number of prominent Jamaican artists with criminal activities, and the unprofessionalism of Jamaican artists, artist managers, and event promoters who operate internationally.

But, all is not lost by any means as far as the future of Jamaican Reggae is concerned. There are some very positive signs of the emergence and imminent arrival of a new “golden age” of Jamaican music. In December 2008 Chris Blackwell was quoted as saying that “the golden years of Jamaican music was behind us”. Reference Article Five years later in a Billboard magazine article of September 2013, Blackwell is quoted as saying that the then 20-year old Jamaican artist Chronixx was Jamaican Reggae’s next big thing. Go to Billboard Article Is Chris Blackwell right?

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