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Reaping success


While they may not be making the millions of dollars –– at least yet –– which superstar Rihanna earns, other Barbadian artistes are now reported to be raking in substantial amounts of cash from major deals on the global market, with prospects of even bigger incomes in the future.

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley told the House of Assembly this afternoon he had received information about the success of some Barbadian groups on the world market.

Lashley, who was piloting the long-awaited Cultural Industries Development Bill, said two local groups, NexCyx and Soca Kartel, were on the verge of unprecedented success in the United States.

“Between NexCyx and Soca Kartel, there are seven gigs which are worth about US$25,000 and the bands are going for between US$3,000 and US$4,000 per engagement,” Lashley reported.

“That is three to four times what similar American bands are being paid, and we have only just begun,” he recalled one of the artistes writing and telling him. “These are Barbadian groups,” Lashley observed, “which are more sought after within the American college circuit than American bands.

“In addition, Soca Kartel has obtained four engagements outside of the college market and there is an additional pipeline of opportunities for both bands totalling over US$30,000.”

In further relating what one of the groups told him, the Cabinet minister said the college booking agents and external agents, were “very” excited about the prospects. As a result, he pointed out, they were in the process of arranging media appearances and meetings with leading record labels for both bands.

“If all goes well, we stand to realize some US$50,000 for this year, with projections to double in 2014 and another doubling in 2015,” Lashley said of what he had been told.

He said Barbadian artists have also secured deals and arrangements for their products out of the recent participation at CARIFESTA in Suriname. The Minister of Culture said Barbados had seen a refocusing of the National Cultural Foundation, such as the recently convened E-Symposium On Cultural Industries which attracted a major contingent from Brazil and which had translated into significant deals and arrangements for local artists and creators.

He said that recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade had led a major mission to Brazil, including a high-level delegation from the National Cultural Foundation to strengthen relations in trade in services and related matters.

Lashley said, too, he had the honour of leading a delegation of private and public sector partners to China, at the invitation of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to witness the “phenomenal” International Indian Festival Awards and to have discussions with the view to be invited to the celebration of a world festival to Barbados in 2015.

The Cabinet member suggested that the explosion of Rihanna on the world stage had shown Barbados what was possible, especially for the youth.

“While it took a number of years for Rihanna to turn a profit, by 2008, Rihanna was earning some US$15 million a year and this increased to US$29 million by 2011. By 2012, Rihanna was earning in excess of US$53 million, and while it is difficult to make an accurate estimate, it would be safe to say, that Rihanna has perhaps earned US$200 million so far in her career.”

He submitted that world trade in creative goods and services, totalled a record US$624 billion in 2011, up from US$559 billion in 2010, according to the UNCTAD global database on the creative economy. (EJ) 

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