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New Caribbean music database in February

New Caribbean music database in February
Erica Smith

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Barbados Today – A new Caribbean music database will be launched across the region on February 1, 2021.

The database, called C-Note, is an online digital database of regional sound recordings. The initiative has been formulated to increase the access and use of Caribbean music and is a joint effort between JCAP (Jamaica), OECS Echo, Barbados COSCAP, Trinidad COT and Belize Copyright Association. Collectively those associations have over 10,000 members, inclusive of songwriters, music publishers, performers, producers of song recordings.

Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (COSCAP) Erica Smith told a Zoom session that there was a need for “authentic Caribbean cultural content”.

“We thought to establish this regional database to address a number of challenges. The first being, difficulty accessing regional music especially in the digital environment; and secondly, to try to have a longer-term perspective in terms of being able to offer Caribbean content in a reasonable manner as far as the cost is concerned,” Smith said.

The database, which primarily targets hotels, allows clients of the associations to stream music directly from the database to their premises. Admin fees are 15 per cent leaving the remaining 85 per cent to be paid in royalties.

Smith said that while the database was designed with hoteliers in mind, it was conceptionalised before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is just coincidental that we had the issue of COVID. But this is not meant to be specifically a COVID response but have a longer-term perspective. We often speak to the fact that we export most of the royalties collected in the region. So we were looking for a way to encourage and promote Caribbean music use recognising that there is a large database of content available of all genres which is highly underutilised.”

Smith said in the past it was challenging for copyright groups to know exactly what music was played at hotels and how frequently. The associations are hoping that this will change given the fact that the database can better track content use thereby allowing accurate payments of royalties.

For the database use, a single tariff will be charged across the board to all hotels in the region. The associations said that they are creating playlists of different genres of music and will readily facilitate any request for other types of music.

“The idea was to pull as much music as possible representing all of these genres representing the various territories. We placed them in an online suppository and making it simple to access. You will be able to stream music directly from the database,” the CEO said.

Smith added: “We not only wanted to increase access and make it easier, we also realised that we had to find a way to make it cost-effective. The specific regional scheme, called the C-Note Scheme, will be offering access at a more reasonable rate than the local licence. We did not want to limit the content available to our clients.”

The C-Note can be used by digital music aggregators and distributors, advertisers, audio-visual productions and