Recently, I presented a power package of David Rodigan and Mighty Crown to promoters and the response was crazy! I've never witnessed so much interest for a sound system package in years. Before I knew it -- our office was flooded with phone calls and requests for contracts. The demand was so great that some promoters were left in the cold. We had to sell the package based on a first come first serve basis. Some promoters even went as far as offering more money to out bid the competition. However, it's never a money thing when it comes to us. It always about doing good business and continuously building clients. With that being said, those who called first were given a date to make a deposit. If the deposit was not made on that date, than the next person in line was granted the booking.
The response for this package got me thinking. If the sounds in the industry started working together to give the promoters "a better bang for their buck," things can pick up in the international sound arena. I am starting to think that there is still hope in rebuilding the sound system industry after all. When I say sound system industry, I'm not only referring to those who clash -- I'm speaking of both sectors, clash and juggling. Often times, we tend to separate the two but the sound systems world is one entity. The first step toward rebuilding is sound owners and selectors recognizing that they need each other. No one sound and/or person can fix the industry's condition. It MUST be a group effort!
For the longevity of the industry, sound owners should come together and create packages that are guaranteed to offer promoters high caliber entertainment and draw huge numbers. Such packages should involve top names for instance, Stone Love and Fire Links, Jaro and Bass Odyssey etc. These are examples of packages that patrons will buy in to. They are rare and if missed one would regret being absent. Some may feel that what I am proposing is impossible but the reality is, it's not. It's just that the major players in the sound industry would rather furnish their egos instead of their pockets.
Think about it. Artists have been touring together for years. This is a strategy used by artists' agents and managers to ensure that buyers feel they have a better chance at pulling a larger audience. With a package costing a decent price, a buyer can extend his or her reach, which may result in a greater income. Sounds touring together will open doors......doors that have been closed because promoters have become more popular than the entertainment they offer at their events.
Listen... the fact is.. promoters around the world are no longer interested in booking international sound systemsand because of this, the sound system industry has faced a constant decline. God bless those who are still traveling abroad ( Mighty Crown, Stone Love, Rodigan, Bass Odyssey to name a few). With such decline, those who have invested in owning a sound system are now faced with a business that costs a lot to maintain. However, it's income has become limited. In plain words, sound systems nowadays are spending their money to cut dubs and release CDs in hopes of attracting revenue via bookings. But the reality is no one wants to spend USD$2000 plus plane ticket, per diem, traveling and hotel for sounds that have no pulling power. Besides, they can just hire a "pouchy" from the neighbourhood for USD$300.
Things and times constantly change and the main players of the sound system industry need to recognize such factors. Instead of holding out for the big bucks and traveling once every two months, it makes more sense to lower their price and/or team up with another sound system and create an attractive package in which promoters will be willing to take a chance with. Even though promoters tend to be cheap and act as if they can do without spending on talent, if they come across a good offer, most of them will seize the opportunity.
Mighty Crown and Rodigan are two of the most accomplished sound systems in the world. Yet, they are willing to lower their price and adjust to the times. With such sacrifices, each time they visit the US, their travel time is both extensive and tedious (Rodigan 7 hours and Mighty Crown 14 hours). Nevertheless, they recognize the importance of doing what needs to be done to save the industry.
One should ask themselves, why is it that we Jamaicans are always the last to realize that we are losing? Here it is that two non-Jamaican sounds of great wealth have come together to tour the US at a discounted price while our Jamaican sound systems are not willing to make any sacrifices. Sound systems and selectors, remember this....it's best to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing.
On a better note, the promoters who were not able to obtain a booking for Mighty Crown and Rodigan on their November tour will be granted first refusal on the next tour in April.