Case study: Unique Caribbean sounds showcased at international music festival
The ‘four Cs’ – COVID, climate, conflict and cost-of-living – greatly tested small businesses around the world and set back the Sustainable Development Goals. This case study, from the ITC Annual Report 2022, highlights how the International Trade Centre helped entrepreneurs find new ways to prosperity through trade.
Artists and producers from the Caribbean often struggle to access music markets in the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU). Creative industries in the Caribbean have much to offer and can often benefit greatly from a stepping stone to reach new audiences around the world. Global engagement at international events to build networks and harness inspiration and ideas can be valuable to enhance their visibility and help them secure deals and develop their artistic ventures.
Sherwinn ‘Dupes’ Brice from Saint Lucia blends pop, reggae and R&B to produce unique sounds of the modern Caribbean. His company, Dupes Did It Music, was one of six Caribbean companies to perform at the WOMEX international music festival in Lisbon in October 2022 as part of ITC’s United Kingdom Trade Partnerships Programme.
The annual WOMEX festival brings together emerging artists and veterans of the music industry to maximize the benefits of networking, knowledge sharing and skills development opportunities. The festival – one of the most culturally diverse music meetings in the world, with more than 2,000 artists, recording studios and musicians from upwards of 90 countries – provided a unique platform for these Caribbean companies to showcase their music and their businesses.
Music producers, artists and label managers from across the Caribbean joined Dupes Did It Music in Lisbon. Companies including Caribbeanmecca, Wai’tu Media, Masterroom Media and Mediumship Music shared their experiences with like-minded artists working to build the creative industries in the region.
As artistic leaders, many of these Caribbean companies wanted to ensure that their experiences at the festival would translate into greater business and employment opportunities at home.
Marlene Mercedes and Carlos Monción Alfonso of Dominican Republic-based Mediumship Music said they aim to encourage other independent artists working on Afro-Dominican fusion music and to grow the industry for emerging artists.
‘This event gave us the opportunity to show more widely the services of our Caribbean indie music production company and our catalogue of artists and, at the same time, thanks to their masterful conferences, we were able to expand our knowledge and obtain new work tools, which are vital for the growth and development of our company in today’s global music market,’ Mercedes said.
Thanks to ITC support in marketing and the acquisition of new industry knowledge, Mediumship Music was able to expand its service offer and enter new areas of music production such as soundtracks for the Film Industry.
Masterroom Media has secured sales in the United Kingdom for the first time. The company was set to host a songwriting workshop in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in April 2023. The workshop was designed to give local Caribbean artists the opportunity to collaborate with publishers and agents in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Among the lasting results of the project are the various partnerships and the creation of a network of music industry professionals who can share opportunities, information and inspiration.
Wai’tu Media has developed its own music sales platform and added a feature to fund musicians. As a result of brainstorming on how to generate revenues for artists following the WOMEX experience, the company created an artist-centred promoter programme on ComeSeeTv, a Caribbean video content delivery platform. Wai’tu Media hopes to strengthen the programme and expand it to the indigenous musicians it encountered at WOMEX.