Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 18th 2015 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 18, 2015
On August 7, in the shadow of the International
Conference on Pan, a group of young musicians
and producers gathered in a room at the Hyatt
Regency Hotel to discuss the future of something
called "Caribbean Dance Music."
CDM is apparently a new framework meant to
contain the many flavours of beats that are created
in the region to get people onto a dance floor.
It isn t clear that there is a proven need for yet
for the many region-
al rhythms that have,
either collectively or
little more than an
occasional blip in the
large music con-
sumption markets of
the first world.
But this discus-
sion, nominally on
copyright, leapfrogged such concerns to helpfully
focus on the reason for the reason for licensing,
It was clear that the team promoting CDM were
about pressing home practical discussions and advice
about raising the game for the young producers,
composers and performers who have tended to find
themselves on the fringes of a burgeoning and
extremely fluid market for music.
Professor Kienda Hoji, principal lecturer in Music
Business & Entertainment Law at the University of
Westminster was upfront about his approach.
"I get my hands dirty," he told the SRO room via
Skype from the UK, "I believe that if you are going
to teach this you have to do it."
Describing copyright as one of the "dark arts" of
the music industry, Hoji said: "People generally don t
understand how it works, but it s generally a good
idea to come to an understanding of the process,
because it s the way that you get paid."
The law lecturer acknowledged that the idea of
copyright tends to fly in the face of modern digital
technologies that emphasise effortless sharing, but
the larger issue is working the market itself, which
is seeing a fundamental shift in the way that people
consume entertainment in general and music in par-
"People are not so much interested in owning
music or seeing a disc spin and having that physical
experience," Hoji said, "people are more interested
In addition, there are challenges of perception,
which finds consumers assuming everyone in the
music industry is rich so there s no need to pay people
for their work.
"It s just a small tip of the iceberg of creators who
make a sustainable living from the industry," Hoji
So how do the young creators and producers make
money in an environment that s seems at best hostile
and for many, downright toxic?
That was Dana Shayegan s mission at the event.
As the VP Collective Digital Studios he s worked
extensively in the region, representing several artists
in Jamaica along with Timaya, Walshy Fire and Machel
Montano in the digital realm.
Earlier in the conference he presented a remarkably
detailed and action focused talk on optimisation,
marketing and monetising YouTube posts.
CDS represents YouTube "properties" for these
entertainment brands which focus on Electronic
Dance Music (EDM), Caribbean and Afrobeats music
and claims a collective 15 million subscribers to their
channels, 300 million monthly views and one million
live event attendees on behalf of the artistes that
work with them.
Clearly there is room to grow with his organisation,
but Shayegan was also clear that there s a lot more
that creators can do on their own using the same
platform and offered generous advice in getting start-
ed.First, he recommended that creators clarify own-
ership of their works in writing, including the per-
centages that others hold in neighbouring rights, so
that they can properly apply for a YouTube Content
ID, the first step in getting paid for views on the
website. That can be a real problem
in the region; Professor Hoji noted.
"There s a real difficulty in get-
ting that done," he said, "there s
a lot of Whahappen, you don t
trust me, but if you want to go
there, you have to get that done."
Both presenters suggested get-
ting a reputable and experienced
entertainment lawyer to sort out
exactly who owns what and how
much of it every rights holder is
entitled to earn. Then, the process
follows what s emerged as social
media best practice, posting inter-
esting work regularly and for
YouTube, binding the posts into
a channel that runs continuously,
building "watch time."
Shayegan encouraged creators
to build multiple instances of
strong tracks, reaching beyond the
grail of the music video to create
art tracks, lyric videos and behind
the scenes posts to engage viewers
and hold them in a fully optimised
If this is all starting to sound
like programme management, it s
because it is, and it s all in support
of building an effective brand, the
creator s sharpest sword in cutting
through to an audience.
In summary, Dana Shayegan
offered the following advice to
creators: "If you have any interest
in making music and making
money, you need to understand
this topic, protect your copyright,
but also be prepared to be lenient
when promotional opportunities
$HOW ME THE MONEY
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
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