Writer, Editor, Stand-Up Comedian

Another Highway Records post

Posted: August 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Column | No Comments »

Got this on Facebook… Reposting…

Embrace our own!

Trinidad and Tobago has a rich and marketable culture outside the Caribbean boundaries and this has been proven by many entertainers, play writers, beauty queens, sports men/women and so on that have received international recognition and acclaim for their efforts. In this regard, I pledged to make an effort to market and showcase brand T&T. Now I am faced with trying to fathom this email I just received concerning The Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA) and Copyright Music Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT), on a quest to fight down and literally shut down certain groups of artists.

I sat in London and watched my country vote for change by exercising their freedom of speech and right to be-rid of a government they deemed as a dictatorship. Now I see divisions of the newly formed government that claimed such an astounding victory less than 4 months ago bullying some of the same individuals that placed them in power.

As a nation we fail to live by what we should stand for and the words “together we aspire, together we achieve” falls by the wayside as many are guilty of wanting change but moon-walk into old and backward tactics. Showing clearly that it matters not who is in power!!

In 2010 any genre of music is acceptable be it in the 5% niche market or higher/ lower! So why should a directive be given to ban the music of some local artists from being played on radio stations and Synergy TV but foreign artists of same genre are being played? We profess to support our own but as a matter of fact it is sad to acknowledge that although SOCA is widely accepted by most citizens, as soon as T&T Carnival is over, that musical genre is on no-one’s agenda leaving artists to travel the world to gain a wider acceptance.

Trinidad and Tobago has been the concert capital of the Caribbean for more than 3 decades with huge acts including those with a hip-hop background; Run DMC, Nas, Naughty by Nature, Foxy Brown, Busta Rhymes, The Fugees, Ludacris, Bow Wow, Method Man, DMX and others to sold out concerts. Even Jay Z’s Big Pimpin video was filmed during T&T Carnival. Clearly bringing to light that we are musically diverse and we influence people other than our own!!

This also concretes the fact that hip hop is an internationally recognised genre of music (though a niche) so % does not matter! Music is a world language and artists have a right to express themselves in any genre that fits their personality and style!!! Our country’s culture, religion, race, talent et cetera is so diverse, there should be no thoughts from any powers that be to encourage the segregation of minorities in any form or fashion!

As individuals we have the human right to decide which bank to invest our savings in, which grocery to shop at, car to purchase or restaurant to eat in. So too does any business entity have the ethical and legal right to decide which companies they want to fulfil their various functional activities and services. So if an artist chooses to conduct business with Awesome as opposed COTT they should not be ridiculed, at the end of the day it’s just business.

For those who don’t know, Awesome Limited uses digital media tracking technology which ensures that every time a song from Awesome’s playlist (any song, any artiste) hits the airwaves, it’s digitally logged. This then works in sync with the logs of the given station to guarantee that the artiste are receiving and paid their just share of royalties. This software system is recognised on an international front and used by associations including the Performing Rights Society (PRS) in the United Kingdom which has more than 70,000 members of songwriters, composers, artists and publishers..

In light of this current situation all members of COTT should:-
1. Read their signed contracts
2. Read the Copyright Amendment Act
3 Grasp a full understanding of Royalties and Publishing

Of all the radio stations in the country only 94.1 have decided to stand by and support Highway Records and deserve to be saluted for this. Other stations have the power as well but what will be done? In addition, other artists, supporters and companies can embrace the message on the coat of arms and represent a small fraction of our culture.

Hip Hop lovers in T&T and the world over argue about who the better lyricist is – Tu Pac or Biggie! Can we now exercise that passion towards our own? Talk the Talk and Walk the Talk people!

Leave a Reply