Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Tuesday, March 22 - 9:30am

Renato Adams (Security Expert)
Janeba Jalloh Ghatt (USA-based cCommunication & Education Lawyer)
Barry "Barry G " Gordon, OD (Veteran Broadcaster)
Cordell Green, (Executive Director, Broadcast Commission Jamaica)
Barry Griffin (Award-winning Promotion Executive, formally Geffen/Polygram/Giant/RCA Records)
Dennis Howard (Musicologist, PhD Candidate Culture Studies)
Clyde McKenzie (Broadcast Media & Artiste Manager)
Evon Mullings (Jamaica Music Society-JAMMS)
Joan Webley (Jamaica Reggae Industry Association)

I logged into the seminar 3 hours after start time, but it lasted 2 hours beyond it's original ending time. I missed a bulk of the discussion on anti-piracy, but was able to watch the entire payola debate. After watching this seminar I have come to a few opinions and conclusions. First let me explain the meaning of the terms "payola" and "anti-piracy" in my terms.

PAYOLA (commonly referred to as pay-to-play): is using money or other monetary items to promote your music.

ANTI-PIRACY:  as piracy means to steal (pirate), anti-piracy, here,  is the movement to cease illegal use of cable in Jamaica.

The concerns of the commission is how to stop anti-piracy from taking place. Customers are not paying their bills, but instead are re-wiring their tv units to others' who are. This causes low-bandwith to paying customers across the country, and high prices. There were many problems discussed as it relates to anti-piracy...i saw NO solutions mentioned.

And then began the 'payola' part of the seminar. This most interested me as I work in the music industry and am constantly trying to find ways to improve the services I provide. Jamaican in heritage, I have a deep passion to see Reggae reach it's full and true potential.

The speakers brought in from the states gave examples and PowerPoint presentations on payola as it relates to the US. They've found a way to make it work for all parties involved. DISCLOSURE!! See, if you put what you're offering to the stations in WRITING, it's ok. It's the NON-DISCLOSURE that's the problem. This is how it goes:

  • Artist representative has tshirts/tickets 
  • Representative contacts stations in the market
  • Stations sign-off on LIMITED/DESIGNATED amount of items
  • Representative sends items to stations (signatures and things acquired from both sides)
  • Fans receive the materials (through contests and promotional giveaways)

Will this work in Jamaica? NO! That was the general consensus from the presenters and the audience. The artists do not have the money to purchase the items. According to an audience member, the music is our culture; more culture than business. What about paid 'segments' during a radio program? Have a company sponsor an artists' segment. Once again, NO! How does that help with the quality of music?

Quality of music? There is a general concern that though the quality of music has gone down, the radio djs have no choice. The artists have gunmen in their camps who force their music. The radio djs have relationships with artists, and the music gets played. There are no playlists. No program manager, no music director.

Too much talking, not enough action. If we get it right, everyone will prosper. What works in the US will not work in Jamaica. Jamaica is governed by different rules and regulations than the US. Jamaica needs to have a committee who will take all of the issues and come up with solutions. The solutions need to be put in place. It's ok to compare it against other countries, but JA still needs it's own solutions which best fit JA! Hard for me to have an opinion when I don't live there.

Anyhow, they've archived the videos. See it for yourself!