The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant to support the digitalisation of Caribbean music. This intervention responds to the global shift to digital music distribution, which has placed the Caribbean music industry at a significant disadvantage on the international scene.
“With the shift toward digital music distribution, many who work in the Caribbean music industry have been unable to achieve meaningful levels of success. We know that this investment has the potential to transform the regional music industry—a transformation that could set many Caribbean nations on a path to sustainable economic growth and competitiveness,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB.
The introduction of digital music platforms and products has made it difficult for Caribbean music stakeholders to recover royalties from music sales. Many remain constrained by high levels of piracy that have come with the digital age. In addition, infrastructure essential for success in digital music distribution—including major regional record labels, music publishers and distributors—has been weak in the Caribbean.
Digitalisation of the music industry presents a number of benefits, including:
- significantly lower distribution and production costs;
- greater access to Caribbean music collections by a broader audience; and
- increasing market opportunities and expert earnings due to audience growth.
The grant will fund a feasibility study to determine the viability of establishing a regional distribution platform for the Caribbean music sector. The study will determine the actual and potential size of the regional music and digital music markets, and the position of the Caribbean, compared to global content providers. The study will also consider the legislative, infrastructural and regulatory requirements for creating a digital music distribution platform.
Once the research has determined the commercial viability of creating such a platform, the grant will be used to host three sub-regional workshops for music industry stakeholders. These events will help participants understand the impact of digitalisation on the music industry. Such impacts include legal and regulatory issues, licensing and collection practices, business models, and the work of the collective management organisations.
CDB’s funding for this project totals USD150,000. The Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS) will contribute USD20,000 and the Barbados Investment Development Corporation, USD16,000.
The approval of this grant complements CDB’s ongoing work in the creative and cultural industries. The Bank has funded the Business of Music in the Caribbean Developmental Workshop series, which is scheduled to end in November 2016. In addition, CDB has provided funding for technical assistance to support the establishment of the Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit.