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Sunday 18 August 2019
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MusicTT wants soca category online

 Nailah Blackman
Nailah Blackman

CreativeTT ,through its arm MusicTT, yesterday issued a call to artistes, authors, composers, publishers and producers to “refrain from listing their calypso or soca releases under the category of reggae or dancehall across any of the international streaming platforms.”

The public notice was posted on the TT Music Company Ltd's Facebook page.

It said iTunes has created new sub-categories of calypso and soca under the heading of world music since 2014, and there were plans for MusicTT and TT Creative Industries Company Ltd (CreativeTT) to communicate officially with Apple on the need for a separate category for calypso or soca.

The release added that the company was also planning to communicate with other “leading” platforms on the issue.

This move, it said, will ensure that calypso or soca is finally recognised by the Recording Academy as an official category for the Grammy Awards.

John Arnold, chairman of MusicTT, told Newsday yesterday that if soca or calypso wanted to truly be recognised and “get it to the point where it is recognised by the Recording Academy,” TT needed to start “making moves on our own now.”

He said a lot of the country’s musicians use aggregators (a website or program that collects related items of content and displays them or links to them) like iTunes or Spotify.

But, he explained, “When we register our music, a lot of artistes are putting it under reggae as the genre, because of the popularity of that, but what we are now trying to say is to really to reverse that.”

Arnold said it is a numbers game. The company’s aim is to lobby iTunes and other platforms through the government, Caricom and the industry itself to recognise soca or calypso as a genre and to have the artistes do the same. Those currently registered under reggae would then have to register their music or de-register it and put it under the right category.

He said one of the company’s directors suggested the idea four or five months ago and the company has been playing with it.

Arnold said all the company is doing now is starting the discussion.

Vincentian soca artiste Skinny Fabulous recently celebrated the success of the song Famalay, produced collaboratively with Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin, which made it to iTunes' Top 100 Reggae Chart, where on January 10, Famalay became the number-one selling song from the Caribbean globally.

A release on the song said, “While breaking the news on January 10, via his social media channels Skinny addressed the fact that the placement occurred on a reggae chart by saying, ‘I know this also will provoke the discussion about soca not having its own established genre but until that day comes when we win the good fight for soca recognition, let's celebrate this number one on the reggae chart or any other chart worldwide for that matter.’”

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