Jason Robinson’s Response To – Grange passes on bad MIDEM report

Jamaica Gleaner News – Grange passes on bad MIDEM report – Entertainment – Sunday | February 21, 2010

Jason Robinson -President Free i Ent.

As a promoter in California I have manged to bring the reggae dancehall scene to Hollywood with my ‘Rock Jamaica’ events. However 2009 saw a steep reduction in interest for reggae club events on the west coast unless we played a substantial amount of hip or had a known act such as Damian Marley.

Last years reggae record sales were dismal and probably the worst the industry had ever seen. Yes its true foreigners don’t understand dancehall but there are artists such as Shaggy and Sean Paul who have had huge success. This is because their music is focused on party vibes that people can dance to in clubs and the music makes them feel good. The exact opposite of what todays dancehall heroes are putting out. The Gully vs Gaza lyrical war of last year, I believe, was a major reason why reggae music sales and reggae on overseas radio stations were dramatically down. Overseas consumers do not want to hear about two idiots wanting to kill each other plus when they do hear it they cant even understand what they are saying. The message is not connecting because they have no idea what Gully/Gaza is and frankly they don’t care. If two of our best musical talents, Mavado & Vybz, would use their creative genius to make music that could chart overseas they could uplift an industry in dire need of help. This would bring money to all connected to the entertainment industry such as artists, promoters, song writers etc. not to mention the tourist dollars we see when Jamaicans have number one songs abroad.

These artists seem satisfied with being a big fish in a very small pond which is Jamaica. The great Bob Marley did it best by making music that transcended across all boarders of the world while opening doors for all Jamaicans. So until our dancehall leaders see the value of long term success for their careers and Jamaica we will continue see a decline in the relevance of Jamaican music.

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3 Responses

  1. Jason,

    Excellent article,you hit the nail on the head. Read Mark Wignall’s piece in today’s Observer on “Dancehall Music”.

  2. Jason,

    well said my friend you speak the truth about our music we need more positivity coming out of such talented artists as much talent has we have flowing from that little island rock in the caribbean reggae should be in bigger demand I hope they wake up soon before it’s too late …

  3. There’s still a huge latent demand for both dancehall (known as ragga in France) and roots reggae across mainland Europe. But it’s true that I just don’t see the new Shaggy, for example. Local bands such as Massilia Sound System have more to offer.

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