Spotify expansion to give local artistes a boost
News that popular streaming platform Spotify is expanding its services to Jamaica, the Caribbean, and over 80 new markets has been met with excitement.
Industry personnel say this will not only help to further solidify dancehall and reggae's place in the global music market, but help level the musical playing field where a local artiste's reach and numbers are concerned.
"Spotify is to audio what YouTube is to video and so we can just imagine what this will do for our artistes in terms of reach. Artistes can now expect to see a whole heap of improvement in their numbers and streams. They now have the opportunity to be more competitive with their international counterparts and really get a chance to show their calibre which may result in their records being pushed up on international music charts," said brand marketer and music consultant Donovan Watkis. "Now, the core audience for a lot of our local entertainers (who are from the Caribbean and African countries) get to be a part of the statistics because they are finally on the platform."
Dancehall producer and selector ZJ Rush said that from his experience, most industry bigwigs aren't 'musical people'.
"They are 'numbers people' and the numbers the world pays attention to mainly are on Spotify. This means that although a Caribbean artiste maybe very popular from here, to music industry execs, our artistes have no pull because their numbers are weak," he said. "Now when our local markets can start using the platform, they will start raising and showing fair and accurate streaming numbers that reflect our actual popularity."
Recording artiste Ce'Cile told THE STAR that although the Spotify expansion is a good move, there may be no real returns if Jamaicans do not support the platform.
"I think a lot of fans are unaware of anything other than YouTube and so we need to educate the fans about the new way. If you love music, if you are a supporter of music, you need to stream it," she said. Watkis noted that Spotify pays more than any other streaming platform, so for entertainers who own the rights to their music, this is great timing.
"We all know that the livelihoods of our entertainers have been grossly affected by COVID and the global lockdown conditions, and so for another avenue to be opened where they can earn some money, it's a lifeline that many will be happy for," he said. "And this lifeline is not just for artistes because Jamaica also has a huge podcast community and those persons will now start to earn more from this expansion."