Above: Rihanna’s campaign for Armani
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Many Caribbean artists either reside abroad or have major supporting elements outside the region, and the Caribbean has forfeited “significant” potential revenue from these artists, like Barbados’ Rihanna, according to Adrian Augier, co-chair of the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Cultural Industries.
“Put plainly, the government of Barbados earns relatively little in taxes and other revenue from their number one global export [Rihanna],” said Augier, a native of St Lucia, who was speaking at a meeting of youth, culture and sport ministers from the region.
Augier, a poet and economist, noted that Rihanna was not registered with the Barbados Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and neither Sean Paul nor Beenie Man were registered with the Jamaican equivalent.
All were registered with the US-based American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers or the UK’s BMI, however, he said.
He said that, for example, Rihanna, who is a billion-dollar business, had between 10,000 and 15,000 people earning from her talent — from accounting and legal professionals to artist management.
Accordingly, the region needs to develop the infrastructure, particularly in the realm of intellectual property legislation, to support its major artists, and to invest in them by creating the necessary institutions, incentives and educational environments.
“We must not miss this proverbial boat,” he said.