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Pirates plunder

music producers seeking out innovative ways to sell work

With fewer people looking to buy albums and music pirates pocketing profits, local music producers are challenged to find innovative ways to sell their work.

Veteran artist Anderson Blood Armstrong made the point while addressing the final day of a two-day workshop for law enforcement officials on Building Respect for Intellectual Property Rights under the theme, The Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy.

“Mr. and Mrs. Consumer want to save money, and in these harsh economic times persons no longer want to buy an album when there is only one song on it that you want to hear… They no longer care to go out there and buy the entire album,” he told those gathered.

“They prefer on the other hand to get a copy of a compilation that is not arranged by a producer, but by someone who is involved or has obtained songs in some way to put them on a CD and sell them at a far cheaper price than they would in the music stores.”

Armstrong added that the changes in the music business were having a detrimental effect on the bottom lines of musicians.

“Technology took us from vinyl to cassette to compact disc. In many ways it has improved the quality of sound and it has made it easier in the areas of recording and production but, as easy as it is for us producers, it has also become easy for the pirates.”

He reasoned that because it was easy to produce music and sell it for a much lower price than the producer and licensed retailer, it had caused several music stores in Barbados to close with the exception of one or two.

Additionally, the performer recalled that people would tell him how much they love his music and they would do searches on the Internet and Facebook, yet they would go and search the Internet trying to find a site that they could download his music for free rather than go to a reputable online store or to the artiste to make a simple purchase.

“Piracy has definitely affected retailers to that extent thus causing several people to lose jobs. I have had several friends who had stores and had to close them down and take different career paths,” he said.

In a previous interview, Armstrong revealed he was contemplating taking a break from producing a Crop-Over album this year, due to the economic difficulties it caused.

Speaking to the media after his performance at a soca concert, he stated: “It became a financial strain over time. The sales of albums are really dwindling. [There are] some on and off years, and last year was not as good as the year before and… I decided I was going to take a break … and just concentrate on the band and myself.”

However, he said that due to the response from both seasoned and newer artists, he decided to bring an album after all. Five new artists have shown interest in working with the artist and producer, as well as more popular names like former band mate Alison Hinds and dj/artist Verseewild, whom he will be working with for the first time.

Armstrong added the preparation was in advanced stages and promised something “innovative” by the May 1. (LW)

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