There are many websites extolling music’s virtues and the many benefits it brings to communities and societies. So when Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced a live music district in his 2018 budget presentation, some of the country’s creatives felt that this was a step in the right direction for the music sector. Imbert defined it as a space that would have live music and other musical activities year-round, similar to other international music districts. He, however, did not say exactly where the space would be located.
He also said for the music industry an export-ready academy that would assist local artistes with producing, exporting and marketing their music, would be set up. Copyright Music Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago’s (COTT) board member Quynton Gooding said he totally approved of the live music district.
In an interview with Newsday, Gooding said on COTT’s behalf, “I totally approve of the live district. It is happening in mostly developed countries. I myself, as a performer, went out and performed in districts similar to that in Austin, Texas. I welcome it. And on behalf of COTT, I believe it is a great initiative by the Government. It would work well to showcase a lot of the music of Trinidad and Tobago beyond that of soca music during in Carnival time and the chutney aspect of it…”
Gooding said there were other forms of local music that he believes would work well within the live music district platform. He added with COTT’s development of neighbouring rights royalty collection, it worked perfectly since performers would be able to get their “due.”
According to www.esa.int, neighbouring rights are, “also known as rights neighbouring to copyright, were created for three categories of people who are not technically authors: performing artists, producers of phonogrammes, and those involved in radio and television broadcasting.” While Gooding could not offer a concrete idea for a space, he suggested a roving space going to different spaces like Ariapita Avenue. He also suggested that different genres be showcased such as jazz and even slam poetry.
Similarly, musician Carl “Beaver” Henderson also expressed excitement at the idea. He said, “I am most excited. I don’t have the details but I am excited at the fact that by the performance area…not the million dollars I see in the budget…that is just enough to do flyers.”
He said the creative space for performers was what was most exciting to him. “If that could be tied in properly with other affordable creative spaces where people could come in and invest into…like the private enterprise.”
Henderson said, for him, he was seeing linkages, for the first time, directly, with the Tourism industry. “Entertainment is the biggest tourism product we have here and like no one is taking it on,” he said.
While he did not have all of the details, Henderson said, “it seems like we’re starting to head in the right direction.”