The key to success as an artiste in TT is diversification.
This was the sentiment shared by attendees yesterday at an entertainment law workshop hosted by MusicTT at 15 Wainwright Street, St Clair. As part of MusicTT’s inaugural Artiste Portfolio Development Programme, ten artistes, ranging from performers to producers, were exposed to the legal and business side of the music industry to become better equipped in understanding how to market their music and make a living off of it.
Though the workshop involved learning about topics such as artiste development and management and the importance of cultivating the right team, including a manager, agent, lawyer, and recording label, it was evident from the conversations throughout the day that today, successful artistes are required to be more flexible with their creative repertoire and must know how to protect it.
Attorney Anthony Vieira, who presented on topics including basic rights of those in the music industry, key commercial contracts, and dispute resolution, incited the notion of diversification in the music industry and for artistes to step out of their comfort zone before settling into their niche market.
“Diversify your repertoire (and) learn and play as many different styles as you can. And when you start to make money and get positive feedback in a particular genre, then you can specialise,” he said.
Speaking to the IT aspect, Brevard Nelson, co-founder and CEO of Caribbean Ideas Synapse, emphasised the importance of artistes diversifying their marketing strategies, such as on Facebook or LinkedIn, to connect with their fanbase.
“(Platforms) allow you to have a direct connection with your audience so you are able to improve your music and cater to them,” Nelson said. “It is important to create content appropriate for the platform (and) once you understand how to use a platform appropriately, you can use any.”
The third presenter, Nicholas Lue Sue, an intellectual property specialist, presented on topics including collective management organisations, licenses, record companies, agents and urged artists to seek advice from experts before agreeing to contracts in order to protect themselves and their brand.
As with other artistes present, managing director of KG Services and manager of Freetown Collective, Keron Niles believed that more emphasis needs to be placed on developing the creative industry in the country. Comparing the creative industry to that of oil and gas, Niles said that talent is much like the raw material and managers and branding are part of the refinery process necessary to make talent into a profitable commodity.
“We don’t have a shortage of talent in this country,” Niles said. “Managers and branding helping to commercialise talent is critical to helping artists convert that their talent into something people will pay money for and products that are going to allow (them) to build sustainable livelihoods.”
From the responses of artistes in the interface session, it was apparent that most are aware of the growing need for diversification in order to prosper in this music industry. Keoné, a singer, songwriter, and producer, expressed her eagerness to learn more about the music industry and how to become more competent in handling her affairs.
“A lot of people get stuck in Trinidad due to the lack of understanding of the business side of the industry,” she said. “But the facilitators are giving us insight and I’m excited to learn and be more aware how these things can be more beneficial to myself.”