This unregulated Haitian music market, which we dare calling an industry, is at its deliquescence point as we speak; if nothing is done urgently to turn things around, in the next decades or so, we may not have what we are so enjoying today –whatever it is.
I will be blogging a lot on issues pertaining to our music world. But today, for the sake of spiking a conversation, I am going to touch on this very pertinent issue having to do with these media personalities soliciting money from these artists to play their songs on their radio shows and/or help in the promotion of their music on other venues.
Without a doubt, we have very few radio show hosts promoting Haitian music on their shows not demanding that the artists or bands pay a fee to have their songs played on their shows. A good bunch of them, even some of these folks working at these “radyo pirats” (these radio stations operating illegally) would not play your music on their shows unless you accept to “jere” them (pay them money) or whatever. Everybody is on hustling mode.
These entertainment show hosts, for the most part, are bought and owned to promote even bands or artists producing subpar music. These folks can never be themselves to tell the truth, educate the people and constrain these artists to use their God-given talents to produce music worthy of airplay.
For these show hosts, credibility is no longer part of the game; it forever becomes a matter of extrapolation or “voye monte” for a few bucks. They get paid to hype bands and artists whose substanceless music should have been thrown in the garbage.
Today, even these administrators or owners of these Konpa websites are killing the artists. Thanks for these social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc… now there is a way to bypass all of them and get oneself out there.
I still cannot fathom why is it that, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, most of these Haitian artists still believe in the myth that they have to have their music pushed on the radio by these show hosts and their promotion handled by these Konpa websites to make it in this business. This is a myth that must be debunked. One can very well do without them.
Let’s face it… this so-called Haitian music industry has no real money to be made in it to begin with, how can anyone think they can be so demanding? I remember a few years back I contacted this administrator of one of these Konpa websites to have the poster of a band I was working with posted on his website, dude asked me close to 600 dollars for like three weeks of display. Are you kidding me? I don’t mind you charging, but damn!!! Be reasonable at least!!! After that encounter, I said to myself, “Nah, something has got to be done. I will do whatever in my human power to expose this institutionalized gangsterism.”
If the artists go to great lengths and fight tooth and nail to produce an album, before that album even hits the distribution points, thousands of bootlegged copies would be out there being shared and even sold illegally in the black market. So they are running on a deficit way before they even get to come out and start crawling.
There is no real money to be made in this music production business as I stated earlier, yet some of these unrealistic show hosts and Konpa website owners refuse to understand the reality of the business and the struggle these artists must go through in order stay afloat. That explains why it avers extremely hard for these upcoming bands and artists to get any real spotlight and exposure necessary for their forward progression; hence, only these already-established artists and bands with some type of name recognition you see occupy the landscape, even though they are doing nothing but engaging in production recycling or “bouyon rechofe,” displaying no sense of respect for the consumers. This dire reality kills great talents and stalls the spirit of creativity in the business.
Because of this disheartening situation, these show hosts and website administrators have amassed a great deal of power and influence in the business, causing the musicians to have to lose their dignity and even have to go as low as engaging in flattery just so their music could be blessed with a little airplay on their shows and a little exposure on their websites, which in my opinion is not right.
While in the US market the artists get paid each time their songs get broadcasted on the radio or else, in the Haitian music market, it is the other way around; the artists must pay members of the media for that. Isn’t it ironic? And you expect these artists to make a comfortable living?
In conclusion, this piece is far from being an attempt to destroy anyone’s business; it is, rather, a call to reason and sympathy. It also offers an opportunity to tell these artists that there are ways to bypass these robbers and get their business out there. This Haitian music market should not be the way it is. These mercenaries in the business will not change their deceitful mannerism unless they are forced to do so. Until they decide to pursue a different course, the artists must bypass them and use the technologies they have available at their disposal to market themselves. If they give their very best to product great music (music with no expiration date on; music that can transcend generations) and use all the right technologies to get themselves out there, nothing can stop them. Instead of them chasing people, people will be chasing them. You can never go wrong with these social networking sites, if you really know how to make good use of them. Remember this, Barack Obama, the president of the United States, won the presidential election in 2008 because of his sublime use of the internet, mainly these social networking sites. If he could do it so big then, so can you today. You just have got to believe.
I think you brought up a very good point about the Haitian Music promotion environment and I beleive also that a reform is absolutely necessary to save and protect that deteriorating industry. Because if it must survive, things have got to change. I hope that musicians can truly be united and solve their own problem. They need to do it. it’s not that hard. wherever there is a will, there is a way. Poze!!!
I’m not an expert in the Haitian music industry. However, I do not completely agree with some of your point even it is clear that the Haitian artists are being exploited without mercy. Let’s take the case of the website “Konpa” music administrator. Is he in the business for money like the bands or the artists? He might be a little bit expensive, but administer a website cost money. This is not philanthropic adventure for whom ever he/she is…
Again the US music market get to its culmination point today, but it was never like that at the beginning. How far are we in our society (Haiti) to think we can easily make comparison as we pleased? Today as Haitian we have one benefit in leaving the 21st century outside Haiti boundary (25th century like)… We must learn and go back to apply by using the good tools that we know and see working in the 21st century; whether it takes one full century to plan the base that will accepting the “fit model” that will be implanted.
Everyone is in business to make money; and promoting a band or an artist is very costly everywhere in the planet. The way of doing it may vary from one part or another. We must fight for balance while respecting and understanding the rules and the role of everyone else.