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Live Music District launched
A lack of venues willing to host local artistes has traditionally been a problem facing new and upcoming musicians and vocalists in T&T’s music industry.
This problem will now have been partially alleviated with the opening of T&T’s first Live Music District (LMD), which was officially launched on March 8.
The creation of this Live Music District is a key strategy being undertaken by MusicTT/ CreativeTT through the Ministry of Trade and Industry in order to not only address the challenges presented by the industry’s stakeholders but to also stimulate a new wave of economic growth through the creative industries.
MusicTT Chairman John Arnold said almost 30 venues, including bars, lounges and hotels, will be part of the first phase of the LMD, which runs from March and June of 2018. He estimated there would be approximately 700 performances, as each venue has committed to two performances per week. Arnold also said Music TT would sponsor the first 20 minutes of each performance at a rate of $500 for soloists and duets, $1,000 for small bands of three to five people and $1,500 for bands comprising more than five people. He said it was up to the performers to negotiate the rest of their fees, which should be supported by the private sector or the venue.
MusicTT General Manager Jeanelle Frontin said the venues included 4 Play Sports Bar, 51 Degrees, 63 Lounge, Alpha Rooftop, All Out, Altitude Lounge, Apex Sports Bar, The Avenue Pub House Earth, Chancellor Hotel, D Bocas, Frankie’s, Haze, Island Beer Chill & Grill, Kaiso Blues Cafe, La Locanda Italia Resturant Trinidad, M Bar, The Residence, Rizzoni’s, Samurai Restaurant, Smokey and Bunty, Tequila Twist, Trader Jack’s, Tzar Nightclub, Uncorked, Vas Lounge and Xperience Event Center.
She thanked those who had contributed to putting the project together.
Arnold said the issue of venue availability and booking would be handled through an online booking platform. He said the platform would be built by Australian online music platform company Museek, which was sponsoring 90 per cent of initiating the basic platform.
“All the venues and the artistes will be hosted on that online booking platform, artistes will be able to upload their photos, bios, and links to their own music on YouTube, Soundcloud, everything will be automated, including performance contracts,” said Arnold. “Performing acts can add an unlimited number of users to their accounts, including their managers, band members, even their accountants.”
He added that a Live Music District app, which will be released at the end of March or beginning of April, will enable members of the public to know when performances are happening. This will be a great help to artistes to draw audiences to their shows, as well as for the venues. “You will be able to see the schedule of the District, access the venues and access specials which will be offered by the various venues.”
Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said the LMD presents an opportunity for artistes to hone their skills through the live music circuit, and will create employment opportunities as “venues with increased patrons will require more personnel to provide associated services.”
She continued: “Sound engineers, stagehands, lighting technicians, stage/set managers, booking agents, and many other positions will also be required for the success and maintenance of this initiative. The creation of this District will also encourage more young persons to consider careers in the music industry as performers and looking beyond performance to production, sound engineering, composing, recording, publishing, etc.”
The Minister said the establishment of the LMD would also have a positive effect on the entire local music ecosystem, “where an efficient fully-functioning industry will bring local and foreign investment into music and an increased socio-economic contribution. Revenue for the global music industry is estimated at US$15.7 billion dollars and of course T&T must have a stake in that, particularly as music is an integral component of the domestic creative sector that has demonstrated international market appeal, a source of employment and a generator of foreign exchange.”
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