News

Tech meets culture

Transforming Jamaica's creative industry in a digital world

BY DEANDRA MORRISON
Online reporter
morrisond@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 17, 2018



Technology gurus, Next Gen Creators are encouraging Jamaicans to adapt to evolving technologies that can enhance the country's already vibrant culture.

The team recently showcased their take on the convergence of technology and culture and how both can transform the creative industry, at their annual technology and start-up summit under the theme 'Converge: Tech Meets Culture'. The conference targeted young creative entrepreneurs, including musicians, artistes and creative curators, and featured local and international speakers while facilitating panel discussions.

“From the get-go, we wanted to create a platform where start-ups and the creative ecosystem could come together to share ideas and learn. The entire event was curated around that aim and we are super excited to have received such positive feedback from our attendees,” Ja'dan Johnson, co-founder of the non-profit organisation, told DigIT at the conference held at Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on April 7.

Creative entrepreneur and keynote speaker at the event, Debbie Bissoon agreed, adding that efficient use of current technology can reap benefits for creatives, especially as it relate to digital marketing.

“If you're in entertainment, an application like Shazam is able to give you data on which songs will become a hit within three or four weeks of its release. Also, each time you Shazam a song, the app can tell who you are, where you are from and other demographic information.”

She explained that Shazam, in turn, sold demographic data to artistes and production companies who then use the data to groom young and upcoming artistes to respond to emerging entertainment trends and market demands.

“There is also a system that the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JCAP) uses to monitor airplay of songs on the radio called BMAT. Local artistes can use that same system like a Shazam to determine hits in Jamaica,” said Bissoon, who recently launched her own entertainment production company.

Bissoon said she believes that social media was one of the most impactful technology for entertainers.

“Some of us only post pictures on social media for likes, but we need to also know that it can put money in our pockets.”

The media practitioner noted that the use of social media analytics could help creatives, such as musicians to know more about their audience.

Meanwhile, partner at the New York-based diversity investment company, Harlem Capital Partners, John Henry, during his address pointed out that digital media was shifting the way companies advertise.

“Last year was the first year in the United States that advertising spent more in digital marketing than they spent advertising on television, print and radio-and its never going back,” he said.

Henry, who is also a YouTube personality, reasoned that it was up to millennials to “cash in” on what they know about technology and digital platforms because “big corporations had no idea”.

“I am now cashing in on that because I have been pushing content from a very long time and now I get paid to speak, wear things from various brands, and travel around the world,” he said.

Henry also encouraged young Jamaican entrepreneurs to pursue their passion, despite setbacks.

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