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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » JAMAICAN ARTISTS ARE URGED TO “SAVE SOMETHING FOR A RAINY DAY!”

JAMAICAN ARTISTS ARE URGED TO “SAVE SOMETHING FOR A RAINY DAY!”

BY BALFORD HENRY—

Frankie Campbell, head of Jamaica Association of Vintage Artists and Affiliates, addressing the audience at the launch of YARD (Youth for Arts and Recreational Development) Empire in New Kingston last Wednesday. (Photo: Michael Gordon) —

IT may sound like a stuck record — a Jamaican artist dies and the family is seeking support to meet the funeral expenses. But this is a situation which has been played out in the media on several occasions in recent times. Frankie Campbell, head of Jamaica Association of Vintage Artists & Affiliates (JAVAA), said he has heard this ‘song’ one too many times. While putting the blame squarely at the artists’ feet, he cites the reason as lack of proper planning.

“The problem is that when they are making money, they do not plan for the future. They have to understand that the lifespan for success is usually limited, and therefore, they must save something for a rainy day,” Campbell, a member of the Fab Five band, told the Jamaica Observer

JAVAA.

Formed close to 14 years ago, JAVAA’s mandate is to represent and protect artistes’ and musicians’ interests and help preserve the musical heritage. The organisation also provides group life and health insurance in the event of death or medical emergencies regarding its members and their immediate families.

“But what you find is that normally, they don’t want the government and organisations like JAVAA to interfere with their business,” Campbell added.

Desmond Young, who heads another umbrella group – Jamaica Federation of Musicians & Affiliated Artistes (JFM) — believes the root of the problem is the refusal of artists to take wise business advice.

He said only a mere 10 per cent of the artistes, musicians, producers and other contributors to the industry are paid members of any professional industry body.

Desmond Young

Desmond Young

“The problem is that when the artists are earning US$10,000 and US$20,000 per show, they don’t see the need for these benefits. In addition, there may be thousands of US dollars outstanding to them but because they are not members of any copyright society they don’t have access to it,” said Young.In addition to educating its members to protect their musical works and performances from piracy, Young said the benefits of being a paid-up JFM member includes membership on a burial scheme to which they can contribute. Members are encouraged to join the Performing Rights Society (PRS), which has a members’ fund to support the artistes and their families, in the event of their death.

Producer/artist Wayne Lonesome, who said he has come to the assistance of a number of artists who have worked with him, believe artists should be prudent in their financial planning.

“If you put it in the bank, it doesn’t make any sense. You are going to spend it eventually. It is best to invest in something when you are making money. Invest in a house or in some insurance, so that when the money runs out you can still pay your bills,” he said.

 

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