Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2015 Contents FEBRUARY 8 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | SBG5
The song After Carnival
by calypso veteran Brigo
encapsulates the angst
of local artistes and the
this society has with
them. After the chipping,
the winning and feteing,
all done with the artistes' music in the back-
drop, what then?
Enough has been written about the lack
of support for local music after the Carnival
season. Unless they travel for regional and
international carnivals, most local artistes
tend to earn the bulk of their money between
the months of December and March. But
what can artistes do to ensure or augment
their income after this period?
This week, entertainment lawyer, Carla
Parris, discusses the possibilities that exist
for artistes in endorsements and sychroni-
sation deals through music publishing.
"The endorsement deal can be very strate-
gic not just for the artistes, but also for the
entity which is employing the services or
tying itself to the artiste's brand for a particular
period of time. I think the industry could be
boosted by tapping into a greater symbiosis
between the artiste in the entertainment
industry and other sectors. An obvious con-
nection is the link between the artiste and
products in the food and beverages industry
or the cosmetics industry."
Parris said that the way they are approached
in T&T needs to be re-thought.
Currently, endorsement deals operate in a
fashion akin to a "boys club," with only a
few of the larger artistes benefitting or having
management teams who understand the
potential gains. She said while there were
several lower profile endorsements happening,
this defeated the whole purpose of the making
"The endorsement deal is supposed to be
so bold, so prominent that you cannot think
about the product without the artiste and
According to Parris, local manufacturers
have not as yet been turned on to the potential
value an artiste can bring to their brand and
She drew reference to the Jay-Z/Microsoft
deal and Justin Bieber's collaboration with
the skin care line, Proactiv in 2010.
"Jay-Z, at the time, teamed up with
Microsoft to promote his memoir Decoded.
Microsoft reportedly dished out about US$2
million to sponsor this book, but while spon-
soring this book, it also gained maximum
exposure for its new search engine, Bing,
which was supposed to compete with Google."
"With Justin Bieber, you think why would
a teenaged boy support an acne product? But
clearly, someone within the marketing and
communications department thought that it
would attract the individuals who they
thought wanted to use the product line:
teenaged girls. They reportedly spent over
US$3 million on the endorsement over a peri-
od of two years.
"From the research that I conducted, the
first day that Proactiv deal went live, there
were 120,000 YouTube downloads and
500,000 views of Bieber's clips."
From this perspective, the tangible and
intangible benefits of these collaborations
between companies and artiste are certainly
tempting, but Parris warned against mis-
alignments of product and representative
and, to get everything down on paper.
"Deals like this---in order for them to have
the weight that is necessary---should be writ-
ten contracts. It is important for the brand
to choose an artiste who can best represent
the brand, either in physical appearance,
lyrical content of the music, the person's rep-
utation and credibility. It has to be thought
out carefully, because you don't want an
artiste whose reputation could soon be inju-
rious to your brand shortly after signing a
year long deal. You would have to have things
like termination clauses, which would specify
why somebody would be released from their
obligation and in turn, the artiste will also
have an opportunity to terminate his or her
relationship with the company if he or she
no longer finds it suits his our her particular
But what if you are not a performer, but
a songwriter? Or an artiste with a song that,
for whatever reason, never made it to the
Music publishing and
"We have the unfortunate incident where
our music is still very seasonal and only
played at a specific time of the year. You
have a big hit for the season. Or, you didn't
have a big hit for the season. The question
often is: how can I make some money now
and then turn it into an asset that generates
some income for me? That's where music
publishing comes in."
Music publishers are companies that work
with songwriters and artistes to promote
and market their music. This includes pitch-
es to record labels, TV, movie and videogame
producers. If they like the material, the
music publisher then licenses the song for
a period of time for a fee. That fee is then
split between the publishers and the song-
writer or artiste.
Sychronisation means that the music is
being combined with another medium, such
as with film.
Parris said one such synchronisation deal
was for Bunji Garlin's Differentology, which
was featured in an episode of popular US
television show, Grey's Anatomy.
If someone watching the episode that
night wanted to know more about the song
or the artiste, this is where a relationship
with a reputable music publishing company
would come in.
"That would have been the result of music
publishing. The song would have been
pitched to the music supervisor of that tel-
evision show, documentary or movie as the
case may be and this forms an auxiliary
source of income for a songwriter or for an
artiste, aside from performances.
"These are the kinds of deals we should
be looking towards for our music, not just
in terms of soca, but everything, from hip
hop to rapso to R&B. The question is: are
we linking with individuals internationally
who can make those deals happen for us?"
The entertainment lawyer said finding a
music publisher does not necessarily have
to involve travelling and she suggested an
initial search could be done over the Inter-
"There are a number of publishers with
an interest in Caribbean content."
How local artistes can benefit from...
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