Globalization & Commercialization of Caribbean Music

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Name: Carla Lori-Anne Gittens
Student ID#:20043045
Course Code: AR27E
Course Name: Music Business Management
Lecturer: Mr. Dennis Howard

Assignment ONE
Question: Globalisation and Commercialisation of Caribbean Music by Mike Alleyne is one of a number of studies from the Caribbean region, which addresses the impact of Caribbean music production on the Anglo-American music industry. Do a critical review of this very important research on the Caribbean music industry and its impact on the cultural industries.

He is a member of the International Association for the study of popular music (IASPM), a co-producer, an author, a professor and an editorial board member of the journal Popular Music & Society, etc. Having created innovative commercial music for television and radio, he has also had interviews with influential artists and producers ranging from members of Public Enemy to renowned record producer Nile Rodgers. His name is Mike Alleyne and he specializes in popular music research, where his career emphasis is on the Caribbean, and with this in mind, there is no reason this gentleman with a PhD in English/Cultural Studies wouldn’t have his recent work included in Popular Music History and World Music: Roots & Routes entitled “Globalisation and commercialisation in Caribbean Music” which will be critically reviewed within this essay.

Firstly, The Levin Institute from The State University of New York (SUNY) defines globalization as “a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology” and elaborates that “the process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world.” With the latter elaboration in mind, we can further go on to define commercialization as offering a product in the market, modernizing it and have it start making the BIG bills. For example, it’s taking a small town kid with singing abilities and turning them into a musical Mega-Star with the right artist and product development team. These two terms plays a vital role in Alleyne’s article as they relate to Caribbean Music. Alleyne begins his article by expressing how the identification of globalisation by developing nations have proven to present major challenges and stands as a threat to their continued existence. In regards to Caribbean popular music, he goes on the mention that “a central concern of most small cultures is the assimilation an utilisation of foreign influences without distorting the content and representation of the local”. Exactly what does mean? If one should deduce this statement, it simply boils down to how best to represent your culture in the international market without losing any essence at all but still being attractive to the foreign market. And to agree with Alleyne, in the recording industry’s commercial enthusiasm have often been more about making money than representing culture. How then can countries from the Caribbean logically represent their music without commercialisation weakening their art to a point where it becomes “only a product”? To this date at most times, impossible. The renowned author and professor in his discussion attempts to enlighten us on the “historical and textual aspects of Anglophone Caribbean music” where he pays particular attention to the reggae era and the marketing of the legendary Bob Marley and speaks of ‘corporations’ and ‘authenticity’. He explains that the Caribbean and the exoticism that is associated with it had suffered a great deal of being diluted by music corporations especially the colourful genre such as calypso. Where instead of marketing the genre based on the artistic and cultural strengths it possesses, it is reconfigured to appeal to the larger markets. He goes on to explain that even...
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