As reggae artists who were ignorant to the business of music become more educated on the ins and outs of copyright law, music rights, performance rights and as their managers and agents become more savvy, we will finally see artists receive financial compensation for the use of their work.
The fact that Jamaica is just now formalizing a lot of the agencies needed to support the industry in a meaningful way is simply indefensible. Artists who spent their lives being creative were never educated on the importance of aligning their estates.
Live performances and tours are generally where artists of all genres make a solid living and amass wealth. Reggae artists are no exception to that reality.
Bob Marley for example did not exist by himself in the Reggae music sphere. He had progenitors and contemporaries who recorded an enormous amount of quality music.
The industry of making reggae music videos on a budget but with fair to good quality has on its own become an art form. With the accessibility and ubiquity of recording and editing equipment, the rest of it comes down to creativity.
The reggae industry has figured out on its own how to survive as it’s own standalone industry. There is no other genre of music which does not have its origin in a first world country that is as influential and relevant as Reggae music.
Roots Reggae artists have chanted down Babylon for decades invoking the warrior spirit. This is not surprising when you take into account Jamaica’s rich history from Nanny and Paul Bogle, to the Pan-African movement and Marcus Garvey, to Rastafarianism.
If you have never heard mento, its somewhat similar to bluegrass. Bands like the Jolly Boys are critical to carrying on what could be considered a dying music art form.
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Dancehall is a vibrant Reggae sub-genre and it has existed for decades in its current form through the riddim driven approach. It would be interesting to see another approach being embraced that could deliver more creativity to the music itself.
Country music has Nashville, hip hop has the Bronx and New York City in general, R&B has Motown, these places are undisputed in their stature as it relates to the their specific genres.
The influence of the Reggae sound is now just simply music evolving. Reggae itself is a great and entertaining genre that is prevalent across major hits.
Reggae did have an on stage appearance at this years 52nd Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Thanks to two musical giants and long time Reggae ambassadors Sting and Shaggy.
With the news that musical legends Sting and Shaggy have teamed up to create a joint album, I started to wonder what other fantastical collaborations I would want to hear.
Two of the biggest Dancehall artists in Africa are Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale. If you are a Dancehall fan and you are not familiar with these two names google them and or go to Youtube where you can watch dozens of their music videos.
When Bob Marley says “when music hits you feel no pain”, he was likely referring to the actual sound that comes out of sound system speakers.
The Grammy award is the only measuring tool that has been established to evaluate the creativity and art of Reggae music creatives. It's simply not enough.