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Multi approach necessary in ‘mining gold’ from Jamaica’s music industry

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Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange delivering remarks at the 3rd staging of the Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture held at the University of Technology Jamaica Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange delivering remarks at the 3rd staging of the Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture held at the University of Technology Jamaica

Entertainment Minister, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says the Government of Jamaica is taking several steps to monetize and leverage the economic potential of the country’s music industry

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According to Minister Grange, who was speaking at the third staging of the Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture held at the University of Technology yesterday, the Government will be taking a multi-sectoral approach to enhance and sustain the income and revenue streams from Brand Jamaica’s most powerful gift to the global creative economy – the Jamaican music.

“Monetization of Brand Jamaica is only possible through a new paradigm which sees us collaborating and working together as one,” she said, making reference to ministries, agencies, the private sector, international partners and industry players and practitioners.

Among the steps to be taken to monetize Brand Jamaica’s music are discussions with the Ministry of Tourism on a standard document to determine what is served to visitors as Jamaican entertainment. This document will allow every visitor who arrives in the country to experience the distinctive sounds and images of Jamaican music. In this setting, the government will be able to provide further opportunities for professional development and financial growth for its musicians.

Culture and Entertainment Minister, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange looks on as Acting President, University of Technology, Jamaica, Professor Colin Gyles presents former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Edward Seaga, with a copy of the book ‘Reggae Roadblocks’ by author Lloyd Stanbury (right of Minister Grange) at the annual Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture

The Minister added that her ministry also intends to engage the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Edna Manley College, University of Technology, University of the West Indies, community colleges, and HEART/NTA “to promote new approaches to music as an industry rather than the traditional approach to music as recreation. This proposes moving music from extra-curricular to curricular alongside and in tandem with accounts, business administration, law, etc., subjects that are also relevant to serious development of the creative industries”.

At the global level, the Minister said the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport will play a more visible and dominant role in the promotion of partnerships, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with international stakeholders such as the European Union and the African Caribbean Pacific Group.

“This will allow our artists to earn in these countries from their creativity and be able to migrate those funds back home here in Jamaica. These constructs are negotiable within the context of the UNESCO Convention for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions as well as under the free movement of artists within the Treaty of Chaguaramas in CARICOM, which we must promote more vigorously,” the Minister explained.

In re-emphasizing her call for greater collaboration in the cultural and creative industries in a bid to ensure that Brand Jamaica’s music once more leads the way as our country’s principal export and contributor to sustainable growth, the Minister said: “It cannot anymore be us against them, as our people stratify ourselves and create enemies among each other: politicians against musicians and musicians against politicians; corporates against artists; bankers determined not to see intellectual property as guarantee-able property to serve as collateral. No!”

“Monetization is truly a matter of political will and economic support, professionalization of the industry and investment assurance, all on a platform of belief in ourselves and in what we have created,” said Grange while encouraging the Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited (JMMB) and the University of Technology Innovation Centre/Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership to lead the way in devising and establishing the critical financial instruments needed to support some of the tasks required in the quest for monetization.

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