Veteran entertainer and ten-time calypso monarch Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire is optimistic about an expanded role for the creative industries in the global economy of the future.
“The reality is that the creative industries will drive the world’s economy in the near future, whether you want to accept it or not, because it is the new things that are created that would create excitement every single time. So, I believe that we have a role to play in that, no matter how small our part of the world is; we have a hand to play in that,” he said.
RPB’s comments came on the sidelines of the press launch of Rockin’ Hard, a new Barbadian entertainment brand that is seeking to revive live music at entertainment events on the island. The company’s inaugural event will be a concert on February 24, 2018 at the Bagatelle Great House that will feature a line-up of artistes including RPB, Spice & Company, Nakita, Marvay, Lil Rick and the Jamaican reggae group Third World.
While pointing out that the local music industry was still quite small, RPB suggested that the artistes themselves needed to pay more attention to the business side of the industry.
“When people come into the music industry in Barbados, most people come in seeing it as just a side thing, something you do on the side,” he said. “Maybe at Crop Over time you get an idea for a song and you create a song and you put it out there, but a lot of people are caught up with the show side of it. The business side of it is often ignored.”
The veteran entertainer, who was recently designated a cultural ambassador by Government, also suggested that Barbados needs to establish a quota system for local music on the domestic market similar to what was done in Brazil and Puerto Rico.
He explained “Reggaethon came out of Puerto Rico as they stipulated that 80 per cent of the music played should be from the country [and that] Brazil stipulated that 70 per cent of the music played in Brazil should be Brazilian,” adding that “we should have a quota here in Barbados so that an amount of the music played is Barbadian or Caribbean at least.”
He said implementation of such a quota system would generate more money for Barbados.
“[It] will leave more money in Barbados in the pockets of producers and creators in general as they will get further royalties that will attribute to them from their rights and then they would have more money to produce more,” he said.
In a wide-ranging interview, RPB also expressed displeasure with the current way royalties are distributed in Barbados with a significant percentage going to foreign production agencies and artistes. “But if all the money is going out of the country to people who produce outside of the country, then then less money stays here. So, it is important that more of our money stays here so musicians here can make a living from music,” he said.
The veteran calypsonian explained that the more local music that is played on Barbadian radio, the more music will be produced at a higher quality by local producers.
“Because once more music is played on radio, more music is going to be produced, as people are going to be getting more of an opportunity to perform live and that can only benefit Barbados as a whole,” he said.
“We have to tap into the creative industries. That is not just [for] music; it is the creative industries in general and that is where the excitement really is now,” he added.