Experts across the region agree that there is significant potential for strengthening the economic contribution of the music and film industries in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. However, this can only be fully realized by learning from industry success factors and, more importantly, by addressing existing constraints.
These findings emerged from a newly published study from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on “The Film and Music Sectors in Jamaica: Lessons from Case Studies of Successful Firms/Ventures”.
Success factors in the Caribbean’s music industry have centred on strengthening awareness and capacity in the collection of royalties. In addition, the industry has also succeeded in creating new revenue streams through the promotion of extensive touring by artistes and the pursuit of aggressive merchandise campaigns.
These successes notwithstanding, the music and film industries remain stifled by the absence of national and regional legislative and regulatory frameworks geared at fostering innovation, knowledge-based training of industry practitioners, and at generating the innovative financing necessary to increase competitiveness and sustainability.
In this regard, inadequate financing remains the most crucial challenge being faced by the creative industries in the Caribbean. This is in addition to song and script writing, marketing, and the distribution aspects of the music and film sectors, all of which represent major bottlenecks that need to be addressed in order to advance the development of the creative industries across the region.
Against this backdrop, ECLAC’s study explores the plight of music experts and film producers, and provides suggestions for the way forward. The study proposes that public-private partnership arrangements be designed so that governments may share some of the risks of financing films. For the music industry, the study recommends an upgraded training programme in music writing, as well as a reconsideration of the music distribution, marketing and exhibition channels.