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OECS Music Talk Held on Montserrat

The fifth installment of the OECS Music Talk was held in Montserrat on Thursday 6 February, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, Little Bay, Montserrat.

Montserrat’s Minister for Communications, Works, Energy and Labour, Dr. the Hon Samuel Joseph, urged local musicians and cultural workers participating in the programme to become more engaged in merging new technologies with the island’s music and culture to help build an orange economy.

In his address at the OECS Music Talk, jointly organised by the OECS Competitive Business Unit (CBU) and the ICT Unit of his ministry, Minister Joseph urged his listeners to pay closer attention to what was taking place in the world economy, with the new shift towards a knowledge-based economy and the use of new technologies.

“We have to reach a stage where we start diversifying our economy into the blue and green economy —  and there’s something called the orange economy,” the Minister stated.

“The Orange economy is related to our music and cultural industries and that is something we have in Montserrat, and that is something we have in the Caribbean, but we must find a way to make use of how the world is changing and make use of the technologies.”

He added, “Our culture, our music and also our masquerades and carnivals, how do we make money from them? How do we monetise them? How do we merge these with all the technological advances taking place?” he questioned.

Minister Joseph further reminded the audience, “That’s the direction the world is going, and so we have to keep up, not only do we have to keep up, we have to be leading the way, which is always my belief. So, let’s take advantage of them (the technologies) and let us lead the way.”

Thursday’s OECS Music Talk, which was coordinated by Ms. Loni Howe, the ICT Coordinator for the Ministry of Communications in Montserrat and moderated by Ms. Nerissa Golden, heard presentations from Mr. Sobers Esprit, Technical Specialist for Creative Industries at the CBU, who spoke on the “Importance of Music Industry to the OECS”; Mr. Davis Joseph, Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO Inc) who spoke on “The Role of a CMO”; Mr. Herric Horne, Manager of Island Network of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who presented on “Artiste Management and Working with Artistes in the OECS”, Mr. Fred Jean Baptiste of Bele Label Muzik of Martinique who presented on “Music Production and Distribution from the French West Indies” and Mr. John Francis, Owner of Caribbean Downloads, who presented on “Taking Your Music Business Global in the Digital Age.”

The forum further highlighted the need for OECS music professionals to find creative avenues for self-development and to advocate for the development of policy frameworks to enhance and strengthen the ecosystem for the music industry in the region.

Watch the OECS Music Talk here…

The main points coming out of the discussion included:

  • The need to be more informed about trends in the global music industry;
  • Use of internet technology as critical for increased visibility; 
  • The need to be part of a larger entity like ECCO to safeguard and protect interests, including the Intellectual property of creators; 
  • The need to treat music as a business and not as a hobby; 
  • The importance of building relationships, and regional and international networking and collaboration as essential ingredients for success in today’s music environment; and
  • The need to pay greater attention to the quality of music production, particularly instrumentation and sound and recording quality.  

OECS Music Talk is part of the CBU overall programme to enhance the competitiveness of the creative industries sector and to provide support to MSMEs in the sector to increase their exports of creative goods and services to global markets.

The CBU and the Montserrat Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour were extremely pleased with the outcome of Thursday’s discussion and look forward to building on the success with a special training workshop focused on exporting music from Montserrat to the world.

About OECS Music Talk:

The OECS Music Talk is the first of a three-phased Mentorship and Artiste Development programme being undertaken by the CBU in an effort to help inspire a new generation of musicians to realise their dreams to become music professionals.  The programme hopes to stimulate emerging musicians to pursue careers in the music business and to find pathways to success through mentorship and artistic development. Phase two of the programme will focus on a more structured mentorship programme with mentees in each member states being offered with critical advice, guidelines to building their music careers and new knowledge to encourage them to develop proper habits and professional approaches to becoming successful musicians.  The third phase will involve a coaching programme for a select group of mentees drawn from across Member States where they would receive coaching and artistic training from skilled music professionals. The third phase will also attempt to develop the necessary skills in these emerging musical talents to prepare them for the regional and global music markets.