Deeper pockets, innovation needed to market the music - Artiste managers say promotion getting more expensive

June 17, 2019
Romeich Major
Romeich Major
Artiste manager Shelly Curran.
Artiste manager Shelly Curran.
Manager Romeich Major (left) and his artiste Shenseaa caught on camera at the 2017 Magnum Live staging.
Manager Romeich Major (left) and his artiste Shenseaa caught on camera at the 2017 Magnum Live staging.
Seen here is one of the billboards used as a promotional strategy for Shenseea’s latest single ‘Blessed’, located on Red Hills Road.
Seen here is one of the billboards used as a promotional strategy for Shenseea’s latest single ‘Blessed’, located on Red Hills Road.
Shenseea
Shenseea
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Handing out CDs in the streets and working with influential music men like Cassette Ninja, who used to record the music in the popular dances and in turn distribute the recordings, are probably a thing of the past for the new generation of reggae and dancehall entertainers who are gaining momentum on local radio stations and on the international charts.

According to artiste managers, the dawn of social media, from the days of MySpace's music player option, has contributed to the change occurring in how the marketing game is played in the entertainment industry. And although platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook offer free registration to its users, other means of promotion that come with a price tag have begun to materialise.

"Those strategies are overdone and played out; we are in times of innovation and unfamiliar creativity," said Shelly Curran, who has been at the helm of building Devin Di Dakta's musical profile.

Promotional plans

She continued: "Even these challenges that include dancers creating routines, though impressive, were five years ago."

Curran says that every artiste needs a team that can create show-stopping promotional plans that will in turn have a memorable impact on the listeners.

"Definitely the Internet, social media and technology has changed the game of marketing by and large; music marketing is no different, artistes and management require a visionary on their team," she said. "And while I think persons will get the attention aimed for it will still end in the fundamentals - good music is the key - if an artiste has a hit, it will be a hit."

Meanwhile, Romeich Major, who manages heavy-hitters like Shenseea, Teejay and Ding Dong, says as an artiste of the new generation it is not only music that is being promoted, but also the image and the brand.

"New ways of innovating must be unearthed; imagine every artiste doing the same thing, it will not bring anything special to the platform," Romeich told The STAR.

"That is what I have been trying to do for my team of artistes. By finding up-to-the-minute, different and better ways to put out their images, brands and of course their music in unusual places," he added.

Romeich was the mastermind behind billboards to promote Shenseea's latest single, Blessed, being erected around Kingston and in the town of Portmore, as well as overseas in cities such as New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. Has that strategy benefitted to the recognition of the song? Well in three days, the song received three million views on YouTube, which Romeich says: "Was effective, but the billboard aspect is very expensive. I don't expect every artiste or their management is willing to invest what it costs."

The resourceful event promoter/artiste manager notes that every generation gives rise to new technology, which forces the creative industries to improve. He believes that the in-your-face approach of the billboard, combined with constant airplay, influence people to find an artiste's music, until they eventually gravitate to the artiste and have listeners playing the music almost all the time, thus creating fans that aid in future promotion.

"Back then, when an artiste would have a hot song in Jamaica, or it became the number one track to play, it would only become hot in the US the following year; now we have the opportunity to make it hot in the space of a month," he said.