The country’s creative industries show potential to generate increased revenue and employment, allowing nationals to earn foreign exchange and create export opportunities.
This was said on Tuesday by Ayleen Alleyne-Ovid, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, at the opening ceremony of the Business of Music Workshop.
Hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) the two-day workshop taught artists and managers the business of music, intellectual property rights, how to develop an export plan, and the importance of metadata in digitisation and publishing.
Lack of access to finance is one of the main challenges artists face. Alleyne-Ovid said under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the UN, Cariforum member states are working on implementing a framework for exchanges in cultural activities, goods and services, including the audiovisual and performing arts sector.
There will be increased access to information on organisations within the European Union (EU) that can provide technical and financial support to strengthen the regional music industry.
She said the implementation of the Protocol on Cultural Co-operation within the Cariforum – EU EPA has the potential to ease the burden of accessing finance for music managers, artists and other professionals in the industry.
She said the country’s music has been loved around the globe and the creative industries have potential to generate increased revenue and employment.
“TT’s multi-ethnic population and amazing cultural diversity is a natural source of creative goods and services, which encompasses our music, art, craft, designs, fashion, festivals and food that we can offer to the world.”
The global music industry, she said, is a billion-dollar sector that has undergone significant rapid changes, with streaming disrupting the traditional chain of music distribution and affecting revenues, but the country’s music professionals adapted, working on finding ways to monetise music streaming.
Ze Alves Pereira, charge d’affaires for the EU, said the music industry also has great economic importance to the Caribbean, as TT’s music has been exported worldwide.
“We shall not forget that Calypso Rose declared herself the Queen of France as she accepted the Victoire de la Musique award for the World Music Album of the Year, in Paris, France, 2017,” he said.
He said because of its cultural and economic importance and its future growth potential, the Caribbean Export, in partnership with the EU, put the music industry among one of its priority sectors and a major beneficiary of capacity-building activities under the EU funded Regional Private Sector Development Programme.
While most Caribbean musicians used live performances as their main route to revenue generation, covid19 cancelled live shows and carnivals across the region. Deodat Maharaj, executive director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, said there is a need for musicians to digitally pivot to diversify the Caribbean’s music industry.
He said as the agency finalises its new strategic plan for 2021-2024, Building Business, Transforming Lives for a Resilient Caribbean, the services sector forms a “critical pillar” of Caribbean business.
It will focus on sectors such as business and professional services, informational and communication technology (ICT), educational services and the creative industries sector such as music, fashion, animation and film.