Local musicians demand more airplay or else
A group of Barbadian entertainers are threatening to boycott local radio stations and deejays if they refuse to play at least 50 per cent Bajan music.
The F3P: Fight For Fair Play cause was launched on the social media network Facebook this week by soca artiste David D2 Davis and has since garnered support from other popular performers, including Anderson Blood Armstrong, who has publicly backed the iniative in a video posted last night on his personal Facebook page.
“. . . . We spend our time and our money and efforts on producing music that is just left by the wayside. If you are not playing 50 per cent Bajan content, it is time we boycott. Unless and until they mandate it boycott, because it is important that we look out for ourselves and our children and the future of entertainment in Barbados,” said Armstrong in the video post.
Armstrong, who is also a music producer, said it was time entertainers in Barbados stood up for what they believed in.
“All we need is for more artistes to come on board and sound their voices because for this to work we have to be unified and loud,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Davis, who is known for his popular song Bucky Wuk Up, said he was moved to take action after attending a meeting of the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Incorporated (COSCAP).
“. . . When I heard the stats as it pertains to how much royalties [are] distributed to the locals and how much go abroad, and the difference between the two was so drastic, it literally hurt my heart. So I say, ‘you know what, no one isn’t doing anything, but something got to happen’ and I decided to start the cause.”
Since then, the initiative has garnered the support of over 15 artistes, with several others expressing an interest, he said.
“What we are hoping is that we would get enough people to buy into the Facebook initiative first, and then we would rally all the troops together, but getting the artistes together as one collective entity and one voice has been a challenge in the past,” he noted.
Davis further acknowledged that “a lot of people are a little intimidated because they are studying repercussions and affiliations between deejays and artistes.
“They are some who are afraid to speak out because they think they will get blacklisted, but the support is there. If you look at the videos posted, and you look at the likes, you would see a lot of artistes are liking it but they are not coming forward and letting their voices be heard and that is what we are asking them to do. We would have a stronger cause and presence and voice if we unite,” he said.
When contacted, Programme Manager at Starcom Network Ronald Clarke, who is also a well known calypsonian, said no formal request had been made of the privately run radio station with regards to the playing of 50 per cent local music.
However, Clarke, who has been in the music business for over 30 years, said he would be interested in hearing more about the initative, although he said the matter was not as simple as it seemed.
“In most formats I don’t think it is wise to apply a 50 per cent quota across the board in respect of format,” Clarke said, adding that “it is something that has to be discussed, and as a programme manager I will wait for something to be presented that is well thought out and that comes with proposals that I can take to my general manager”.
Calypso tent manager and songwriter Harvey Pop Daniel said while he agreed with the initiative he was doubtful it would take off.
“I would go with the idea of taking any action to get a more equitable distribution. But I know the history of the entertainers and they do not unite. So I would be very careful about joining in anything with them and that is the truth. But if they could do it, it would be good,” Daniel said.
One deejay, who did not want to named, also expressed strong reservations, saying what was being proposed was just not possible and in most cases did not make sense.
“If they are saying play 100 per cent soca at Crop Over fine! No problem! That can work. But to suggest 50 per cent Bajan music doesn’t really make much sense. There isn’t enough music across all the genres to do that. It’s not reasonable and not feasible,” the deejay said.
However, Davis said while he was aware of the current limitations, he was adamant that radio stations needed to play more local music.
“It’s hard to produce a song for $2 500, then you take it to a radio station and it’s never played . . . If you go on Bajantube, there are thousands of songs and a lot of them are very good songs that you never hear on the radio. We have a lot of songs out there and in all the genres too. They just don’t play the local songs,” he said.
“The reality of the situation is, the more local music played, the more royalties for local artistes, therefore making being an artiste a more viable profession.”
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