The management of a music and entertainment business enterprise that seeks to cater to the international market is a far more complex activity than most people would ever imagine. It is even more complex than the management of many of the multi-million dollar export businesses in Jamaica, including tourism operations.
Most of our major export corporations, however, seek to place emphasis on staff training and the employment of tertiary and post-graduate level administrators to ensure that their companies are properly managed. When one considers the number of complex legal, accounting, technical and marketing issues which are necessary components of the operation of a successful international music business enterprise, one can’t help but be amazed at the level of international success reaped by some producers of Jamaican music while operating in an environment where music and entertainment business management skills are nowhere on their list of priorities.
This severe lack of emphasis on business management awareness and training in the Jamaican music industry is also one of the obvious reasons why the bulk of the earnings from the international exploitation of our music remains in the hands of properly structured and managed overseas-based corporations.
Our artistes, producers, managers and the promoters of the music in our media enterprises continue to treat the business of music as a little hustling between brethrens to “eat a food”. The level of ignorance about simple and basic music business principles is absolutely appalling, despite the fact that there has been some level of improvement in recent years.
A tremendous amount of effort has been put into several initiatives to make training and awareness-building activities available to persons already involved in the business of music as well as those seeking to get involved. These have taken the form of both formal and informal training activities, and include courses offered by institutions such as the Vocational Training Centre/HEART VTDI, the Institute of Management and Production/IMP, and several training seminars and workshops organized from time to time by the Jamaica Federation of Musicians/JFM, the Caribbean Music Expo/CME, JAMPRO and other entities. For some unexplained reason, however, persons in the industry who need to improve their level of awareness and management skills continue to miss the opportunities for training offered by these initiatives, even though many are offered at no cost to them.
In an age where the business of music and entertainment is experiencing major changes as a consequence of the new and emerging technologies and the resulting further complexities in dealing with rights and distribution mechanisms, the need for awareness and the development of appropriate business management skills is even more critical.
This is really serious business, not a little hustle between brethrens to “eat a food”. To be successful internationally and to create some of our own major home-based international music corporations should be our goal if we are serious about the “Big Chat” that the music industry is important to the development of the Jamaican economy.
This cannot be achieved if the new entrants to the business as well as those who have been in it for years continue to believe that they don’t need to participate in training courses, workshops and seminars so as to increase their level of awareness and business management skills. The business today is not what it was a few years ago, and it will continue to change. This is really some serious business. Don’t take it lightly.