The Creative Industries
The creative industries sector covers a wide range of activities, based upon how they are defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The main areas of focus of this analysis, however, will be on music, festivals and entertainment, fashion, and art and craft, all of which are areas with great potential for commercialization. Some attention will also be given to the audiovisual industry, which, although quite underdeveloped in Grenada, has the potential to drive the development and marketing of the other cultural industries mentioned. Grenada has also indicated an interest in promoting itself as a film location.
The impact of the creative industries spreads beyond the sector itself: it is an important component of a wider supply chain and drives other businesses, such as tourism, in the Caribbean. Most of all, it is important to Grenada’s country branding.
According to a UNCTAD 2013 study on Trade in Creative Products1, developing-country contributions to the world trade in creative goods and services have grown steadily in recent years, with total exports reaching US$631 billion in 2011 – more than double their 2002 level. While the large – usually North American – music corporations still control around three-quarters of sales, internet sales have been increasing rapidly as an alternative distribution channel. A study on the creative industries undertaken in 2015 by Visual and Performing Arts Jamaica for the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) pointed out that while global revenues from recorded music declined in 2013, there was an increase in other delivery modes. Revenue from digital channels (downloads and streaming) increased by 4.3 percent in the same year and made up 39 percent of all revenues. Of that amount, downloads constituted 67 percent of the digital market. Europe is the leader in streaming services, with Spotify (Sweden) and Deezer (France) leading the charge, and the Caribbean is a significant growth market for streaming.
Revenues from subscription services increased by 51.3 percent. It is estimated that more than 28 million people worldwide subscribed to download services in 2013, up from 20 million in 2012. Global revenue from performance rights, including broadcast rights, increased by 19 percent in 2013, crossing the US$1 billion mark. Latin America is the region with the fastest digital growth; strong growth is also projected for Africa. Based on data made available by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the international association for the recording industry, the top ten markets for music sales, are (in order of size): the USA (US $4.5 billion) Japan, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Brazil and the Netherlands (US$216.3 million) (IFPI).
Creative Industries Sector Export Performance
There is little by way of information on Grenada’s cultural industries, so the information on current performance and potential impact will be extrapolated from the situation in other Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) countries. In the Caribbean, statistics on the creative industries in general – and particularly on the music industry – are hard to come by, because much of the industry is informal and Caribbean governments have only recently begun to view it as a significant economic sector worthy of close monitoring.
What information is available shows that, in the case of Jamaica, copyright (largely music related) contributes over 5 percent of GDP, which is roughly the same percentage contribution as agriculture makes to Grenada. In Trinidad and Tobago, the contribution of copyright to GDP was estimated at 4.8 percent of GDP in 2011, while in Saint Lucia, it was 7.8 percent in 20102.
Grenada’s cultural industries, including its festivals, are not as developed as those of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saint Lucia, but they have potential. Complicating analysis, however, is the fact that the music, fashion and audiovisual industries in Grenada, as elsewhere, typically do not follow traditional value-chain lines. Products are developed and distributed based upon the inputs of complementary talent, along with entrepreneurship skills.
MUSIC, FESTIVALS AND ENTERTAINMENT SUB-SECTOR
The popular music forms of Grenada are influenced by traditional practices and African and European rhythms. Several decades ago, the major musical influence was calypso, with its political and social commentary. Although calypso remains very much alive and is part of Grenada’s carnival scene (Spicemas), soca – particularly ‘jab jab’ – is the major popular art form. Other music forms popular among entertainers in Grenada include reggae and dancehall, and the seasonal parang; Eddie Bullen, one of Grenada’s most successful musicians (who now lives in Canada), specializes in jazz; and, in 2014, three local girls made history when their soul music video went viral and received more than 11 million hits (after a ‘like’ from American band Delorean). Traditional music forms are still very evident in Carriacou and influence the festival and carnival scenes in both the mainland and Carriacou. Based upon accounts by experts in the sector, earnings in the Eastern Caribbean are driven by festivals, and this is true of Grenada. In August, Spicemas is at the center of Grenada’s music and design world. Grenadian revelers masquerading at Spicemas have a distinct character, with short-knee, wild Indian and fancy mass bands. In recent years, the profile of the music industry and the exposure of local talent has been additionally boosted locally and regionally by several successful music festivals, which include (in addition to the new ‘Pure Grenada’ music festival):
- the Carriacou Carnival in February;
- the St Patrick’s Day and St Mark’s Day festivals in April;
- the Carriacou Maroon and String Band Festival, and the Grenada Drum Festival in May; and
- Carriacou’s Parang Festival in December.
There is also a chocolate festival that could potentially provide performance prospects, but there are some coordination issues to be dealt with before this can come to fruition.
In January 2016, the Spice Music Awards was inaugurated, aimed at highlighting and encouraging professionals in the music industry. More than 200 submissions were received. There are also ongoing collaborations with promoters and entertainers in Trinidad and Tobago. In advance of Spicemas 2013, a marketing effort saw the festival heavily promoted in Trinidad and a private initiative ran the subsidized ferry service from Trinidad to Grenada during the Spicemas season.
The growth of these festivals and the awards are positive moves that may help to put Grenada on the regional soca and calypso – even global world music – map, and may stir interest among international players looking for exciting, authentic soca or world music sounds. These events also expose local artists to other, sometimes more experienced, performers – but this is very much a work in progress. While confirming their faith in the export growth potential of the industry, several calypso and soca artists express the belief that exposure has been hindered by, among other things, not building networks with the more mature industry in neighboring Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere in the Southern Caribbean. This failure to network may suggest that although there have been some successes, such as international artists Tallpree and Brother B, many Grenadian calypso and soca artists are not as serious about their craft as they might be or that they do not understand how to take the steps required to make their creative endeavors a successful business. There are two calypso associations, yet it seems that even these have not to be able to build bridges within the industry, and between the industry and external markets, even in neighboring Caribbean countries with a strong calypso tradition.
Music, Festivals and Entertainment Sub-Sector Export Policy and Strategic Considerations
The drivers of success in the music, festivals and entertainment sub-sector derive from a combination of:
- talented entertainers;
- a strong mentorship culture and teamwork, drawing on a range of expertise including lyricists, musicians of all kinds and arrangers;
- networking with other industry players;
- social media visibility; and
- appropriate branding.
The tourism and hotel sector is an obvious market for expanding and adding value to performances.
It is interesting and indicative of the direction of the tourism products in the region, that Sandals in Grenada is launching a concert series focused on music, sports, culinary, and other areas of cultural and social interest.
Grenadian entertainers should also explore new markets for performances. The biggest markets for music remain the USA, the European Union (especially the UK, Germany and France) and Japan; other markets for Caribbean music worth exploring in the short-to-medium term are Latin America (including Brazil), and South and West Africa. Access to some of these markets can be gained by identifying an established promoter, booking agent or publicist who can serve as a conduit for entry. Networking and participation in online blogs and music trade fairs could help in this regard. International events for music business transactions include World Music Expo (WOMEX), Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale (MIDEM) Latin America and the Caribbean, and South by South West (SXSW) in Texas.
Accessing these markets will also require differentiated product, management and promotion skills, along with significant co-ordinated efforts at promotional networking and to get Grenadian talent into fairs, music festivals and other concerts.
Design and theatre skills, along with musical talent and the unique aspects of Grenadian culture, can differentiate a ‘Pure Grenada’ carnival.
Strategic considerations for the sub-sector include the following:
- In the next five years, increase export revenue from music and performances by over 25 percent by:
- increasing the number of live performances both outside of Grenada and within the local tourist industry;
- increasing quality recorded output;
- developing within the industry culture of ongoing learning and mutual support; and
- engendering, within both the public and private sectors, a view of entertainment as a business that can earn revenue for a wide number of players and foreign exchange for government.
- In the short term, the industry is best- placed to monitor agreed targets to expand export revenue.
AUDIOVISUAL INDUSTRY SUB-SECTOR
The global audiovisual industry – particularly film and television – is a multibillion-dollar business. Production is dominated by the USA, Europe – that is, by France, Italy, the UK and, to a lesser extent, Spain and Germany – and India. Other countries that are big film producers include Nigeria and South Korea. Location demand for big feature films is likely to come from these areas. However, the internationalization of film production has led to films being produced that draw together contributions from various countries. Contributions can be by way of location and production skills, as well as in acting and musical talent.
As is the case with music, modern technology has fostered the growth of independent film producers outside of the big studios. Audiovisual systems are more data-network-friendly, so content can be shown on a variety of media, including smartphones, and is more accessible. YouTube recently announced that close to 400 videos are being uploaded to the site per minute and other intermediaries such as Google are now supporting the creation of content to expand their advertising reach. Delivery of audiovisual content on mobile devices is also growing.
Audiovisuals are also closely linked to the fashion, music and performance industries because video marketing expands the audience significantly. In terms of consumption, the Caribbean is moving in the direction of other Western countries in which watching television is on the decline in the face of competition from on-demand video and streaming services, such as YouTube, and social media, such as Facebook.
The Film Location Industry
Of particular interest to Grenada is the film location industry. International filmmakers and television producers increasingly look outside of their home base for production locations as a way of (a) decreasing costs and (b) adding interest to the overall treatment in the form of an unusual setting.
Use of outside locations for fashion shoots is also popular.
The film and fashion location industry is highly competitive, success in which depends on:
- the range and beauty, as well as the suitability, of the physical environment;
- unusual and interesting buildings and geographical features;
- strong links with scouting agents and film producers;
- the availability of technical skills and tools on location; and
- tax and other monetary incentives (commonly the deciding factor).
The economic impact of being a location for a popular feature film or television series goes beyond the benefits of hosting the production. Many locations, especially those with distinctive features, have seen tourism increase significantly in the years immediately following the release of a popular film.
Strong competing countries include Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and, recently, South Africa, which offer generous incentive packages. Places such as Australia and Mexico are competitive, partly because they have a developed industry that can offer a range of skillsets.
In the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Jamaica, the US Virgin Islands and, more recently, Dominica have joined the roster. Jamaica has been in the market for some time and Barbados is now taking an increasing interest. Grenada would, therefore, be entering the market at a fairly late stage.
Audiovisual Industry Sub-Sector Export Policy and Strategic Considerations
The Caribbean audiovisual industry is still quite small and not economically significant, largely expending its efforts on the development of content for video and film production to support services for larger productions. In addition to Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago – and, to a lesser extent, Jamaica – are putting systems in place to develop their local industry.
In the last decade, there have been some significant developments in the regional industry that can provide exposure to developing Grenadian exports.
- the growth of film festivals in various countries, including Cuba, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago;
- increased affordability of quality film-making equipment as a result of improvements in technology;
- the international release of several Caribbean produced short and feature films
- the establishment of a distribution company, Caribbean Tales, based in Canada – a non– profit company that links Caribbean content to the diaspora; and
- the recent launch of the Caribbean Film Academy, established to promote Caribbean film-makers and the work of screenwriters, as well as to help to create audiences for Caribbean works.
The audiovisual industry in Grenada itself is specifically demand-driven, very small and disparate. There are formal and part-time informal videographers, whose main market is domestic, with a focus on providing content for corporate Grenada and the NGO community wishing to promote commercial and social goods. The tourism industry, through the demand for wedding services, used to be a good niche market, but that market has been declining. There does not seem to be much happening by way of professional educational or entertainment videos that link with other components of the creative industries nor with the use of the internet and social media to distribute works.
There are no available statistics on the performance of the sector, since there is not even an association. Two Grenadians from Carriacou are on the Caribbean Film Academy team, however, and one of these, Justen Blaize, is its co-founder and has some experience with the international film scene.
The Grenadian audiovisual industry can reduce its learning curve and increase its external exposure by developing strong links with the regional industry. The Caribbean has entered the international audiovisual industry by two main means:
- by marketing itself as a location for documentary television and feature films; and
- by creating and producing documentaries and television or feature films.
These may serve as a model for Grenada. In terms of selling Grenada as a location for film or fashion shoots, the decision is among the most critical that a production team must make, and several Caribbean and non-Caribbean countries are already competing in the market. In support of its interest in carving out a share of this market, Grenada has established an interim Grenada Film Commission – subject to establishment of a legal framework – and it is most directly through this that interest can be stimulated in Grenada’s culture and Grenada promoted as a film location.
It is recommended that as a start Grenada should encourage the establishment of an audiovisual association using as an incentive prospects for participation in training activities, possibly donor financed (Caribbean Export, ACP Cultures) and collaborative projects such as those below:
- The tourism industry and audiovisual professionals could collaborate in a series of “Pure Grenada” film productions highlighting the beauty and culture of Grenada.
- The low-hanging fruit would be the development of videos for musicians, performers and for cultural events and regional education projects.
Audiovisual professionals should network with the fairly vibrant music and performance sub sector in the region as well as the diaspora in developed country capitals as a way of exporting services.
In addition, as success in location marketing improves when countries have a skills base, scouting and talent management companies and profile/brand, Grenada could seek cooperation agreements and collaborations with nearby countries which are building their profile in film such as Trinidad & Tobago and Guadeloupe to tell Grenada’s and the region’s stories.
In analyzing the fashion sub-sector in Grenada, this strategy focuses on apparel, modeling and jewelry-making.
The apparel industry is a very decentralized, globalized business, with design, production and markets often located in different countries. It is a highly networked business, with high entry barriers, and it is dominated by certain capitals – although other counties are making a successful entrance, such as South Africa.
In essence, fashion is about branding and hence the success of Grenadians in international modeling can help to establish the country/region as a high- fashion brand.
Fashion Sub-Sector Export Performance
The Caribbean is on the first rung of the ladder of the high-fashion industry and is moving up on the back of emerging talent and some successes in Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica, among other places, as it develops its own vibrant aesthetic. Caribbean fashion has been described as a fusion of culture and creativity. Caribbean Fashion Week, with international participation, along with Caribbean design, ‘top model’ reality shows and diaspora events such as the Caribbean Style and Fashion Awards in the USA are giving exposure to Caribbean fashion. There has also been a growth in ‘lifestyle’ fashions, such as dancehall designs and designs driven by carnival. However, there is still a lot more to be done by the region in that sector. Given some characteristics of the region – a limited domestic market, limited manufacturing capacity, and a high cost of production compared to competitors in Latin America and Asia – apparel producers are expected to pursue the higher-value niches in custom-made and store retail products in the global market. Online shopping is a growth area, although ‘look and feel’ shopping is still the biggest distribution source in the region.
Knowledge of how to manage exports is a constraint to the growth of the sub-sector. In a recent regional value chain report on the fashion industry undertaken for Caribbean Export by the Visual and Performing Arts Jamaica (VPAJ) and updated in November 2015, 80 percent of respondents who were not exporting were interested in doing so, but said that they did not have the tools or the information and contacts to enable exporting.
Other characteristics of the Caribbean apparel industry include that many exports only part-time, because several of their clients are local, and that some 50 percent have annual export sales of less than US$10,000.
An important means of exporting is by providing goods and services to tourists, with some limited e-commerce and travel to clients abroad. Sales to visitors seem to make up a significant percentage of export sales in Grenada and elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Fashion Sub-Sector Export Policy and Strategic Considerations
The fashion industry in Grenada is at an embryonic stage. It is made up largely of fashion models, a few designers of apparel and jewelry, a few fashion photographers and a few model agencies. It is quite fragmented, with little harmonized support or recognition by the potential local market, the media and even government.
In the last few years, there have been some positive developments aiming to give the Grenadian industry a boost and, with the right leadership and support, fashion could develop its export potential in the medium term.
Currently, a few producers of fashion apparel and jewelry sell to the tourist market, but further opportunities on which the industry might build include:
- the ‘Face of Grenada’ modeling competition;
- local shows such as I AM Fashion and Grenada Fashion Weekend;
- participation of Grenada’s models and designers in the Caribbean and Montreal Caribbean Fashion Week, which provides an opportunity for networking and learning about the fashion business, as well as exposes Grenadian designers to influential people in the industry);
- the international careers of top Grenadian models such as Aria Francis;
- casting sessions with Elite Model Look; and
- OECS training programmes on opportunities in the fashion and creative industries.
ART AND CRAFT SUB-SECTOR
The art and craft sub-sector encompasses goods made by hand by artists and artisans, or persons with skills in a specific area. Artisans work in various media, very often with inputs accessible in the immediate environment, to produce unique, hand-made items. Tourism is among those industries benefiting from a strong art and craft sector. Crafted goods are largely a reflection of the artisan’s culture and, like other art forms, help to differentiate a destination.
Global sales of art and craft depend, to some extent, on the state of the national and international economy, because these are not considered purchases of necessity when the economy is on a downturn. However, based on data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in its publication of May 2013 on Trade in Creative Products, global exports of art and craft shifted from more than US$17 billion in 2002 to more than US$34 billion in 2011, representing a doubling of value in nominal terms (UNCTAD 2013). The share of those exports among developing countries (excluding countries in transition), led by Asia, amounted to US$ 8 billion in 2002 and increased to US$10.6 billion in 2011, while the rate of growth for transition economies has been higher (ibid.).
Art and Craft Sub-Sector Export Performance
“Craft tells the story of its place and its people, thereby generating interest and repeat visits. It is the article of ‘memory’ carried from the ‘destination’ . . . and should therefore be representative of the uniqueness of place and cultural heritage”. (Directorate of Sustainable Tourism of the Association of Caribbean States).
This quote well articulates the situation and the dilemma of the export of Caribbean art and craft, especially through tourism. We do not tell our stories through craft very well. In many craft shops in the region, including in Grenada, the memorabilia, or ‘articles of memory’, carried from many Caribbean destinations are Asian or from elsewhere, as depicted in the craft sold in local shops. In Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean, there are two distinct segments: fine art and craft for the local, regional and global market; and souvenirs for the tourism market, including visitors from the Grenadian diaspora.
Graphic art is one component of the visual artists. Unlike most fine art, the purpose of graphic art is to evoke emotions within potential buyers for commercial purposes in line with product branding. Many trained fine artists in the Caribbean produce graphic art and design part-time and many do so full-time; there is no straight line dividing the two. The advent of the internet makes it easy for graphic artists to export their services through a website and from referrals, and with little start-up capital, but strong intellectual property support. This is, therefore, an underdeveloped sub-sector with tremendous potential for Grenada.
CREATIVE INDUSTRIES SECTOR EXPORT POLICY AND STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS
Considering the strategic solutions to these issues in the context of some of the levers of strategy (perspectives) outlined, we arrive at the following.
- Development perspective considerations
- As a matter of priority, strengthen production and management expertise and entrepreneurship in the creative industries by means of ongoing training and exposure to practitioners in other countries. It is entrepreneurs who are going to take the risk and carry the talent. For example, who is going to take advantage of ‘Young Diva’ Jasmine Murray’s obvious talent and heavy social media endorsements, and guide and manage her musical career? The role of the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) will be important in implementing training efforts. Government agencies should request technical and possible financial assistance from Caribbean Export’s Creative Industries Management Unit.
- Encourage the formation of creative networks in which ideas and skills are interlinked and exchanged to create quality products. Videographers,music and theatre producers, entertainers and fashion promoters all need to draw on each other’s skills and compet
- ‘Behind the Border’ Considerations
- Devise and implement a training plan for the industries, based on PPP. The Grenada Coalition of Service Industries (GCSI) could work with the Grenada Cultural Foundation to collate good practices in the development and promotion of the creative industries to be employed in the PPP and reach out to international and regional organizations to access technical and financial support.
- Deepen links with the tourism industry for wider promotion and exposure of the creative industries. Collaboration between the tourism and local creative industries could be a source of income for practitioners, as well as enhance the tourism product. If the hotel industry has doubts with respect to the quality of local offerings, that can be resolved through dialogue and agreed action.
- Review the craft market concept with a view to attracting and creating a unique experience for visitors. Relationships with hoteliers could be strengthened to showcase quality local entertainment, and art and craft, regularly. Cultural items such as craft must be input into Grenada’s new geo-tourism brand.
- It is important that artists and artisans strengthen their industry association as a way of exchanging business ideas and advocating for their needs. Artisans and artists should be encouraged to collectively build business networks as part of a marketing and merchandising strategy for reaching visitors.
- Artisans need to be taught the basics of the business, including (but not limited to) marketing – that is, understanding market needs – merchandising and branding, along with quality control in relation to design, composition and finishes. Merely turning up in the marketplace with pieces to sell is not good enough to sustain a business. They also need to learn to draw more effectively on Grenada’s heritage, which will add significant value.
- ‘At the border’ considerations
- Create alliances and performance collaborations with the French departments as a way of entering the EU market. The EPA provides for this kind of collaboration.
- Include an intellectual property training needs assessment plan and manual for which the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) can provide training on request, channeled through Grenada’s Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO). In the immediate and short terms, the focus should be on law enforcement agencies, such as customs, immigration, and the police, so that they can feel confident about enforcing sections of the copyright law. The Grenada intellectual property strategy can and should be used to ensure that this recommendation receives priority.
- Identify international promotion events for the creative industries that will get the best results for Grenada’s products, and encourage and support the participation of service providers who are ready, or almost ready, for export. Service providers should also leverage tourism destination branding events to showcase their services, jewelry and craft.
- Institutional Considerations
- Government, the media and the industry should treat the creative industries – and especially music – as a viable business opportunity, just like agriculture, rather than as mere entertainment on a seasonal basis. The creative industries have the potential to contribute as much to GDP as does agriculture.
- Determine the government focal point for all matters related to the creative industries.
- Harmonize government policies and the institutional framework for the creative industries. The mandate of the Grenada Cultural Foundation includes stimulating cultural, artistic talent, and providing the necessary support and facilities, but the Foundation should not be acting alone; rather, it should be the leader of a team, to include the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), the MEDPT and the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture (MTCAC) to strengthen entrepreneurship, information communication technology (ICT) support, to build a brand globally, to promote international networks (to expand the base for live performance, as well as to secure grants and sponsorships) and to expose entertainers to international standards. In this regard, attendance at selected international fairs would be helpful. The GoG may also consider leveraging interest in athlete Kirani James to promote Grenada’s culture at the Olympics and other world meets.
- Other policies in need of review that emerged during stakeholder discussions included: facilitating the movement of entertainers within the CARICOM region; eliminating the practice of demanding work permits for CARICOM entertainers; providing fiscal incentives for equipment for use in the industry; and easing the provision on withholding the taxes of entertainers who perform overseas.
- There is also the need to develop a regulatory framework for licensing certain types of professional in the management side of the creative industries. At a minimum, creative industries professionals need to be formally registered with the Grenada Cultural Foundation, in the absence of a strong association. The framework should address the requirements for promoters, booking agents, photographers, talent business agents/managers, publicists, production engineers and talent managers, among others. This will result in twofold benefits: (a) the GoG will issue the license following receipt of a fee, similar to the procedure that presently obtains for pharmacists, accountants, doctors and lawyers; and (b) overseas users of Grenadian creative industries content will know that persons have gone through a licensing process and thus will be reassured of their authenticity and capabilities.
- In the absence of statistics on the sector, the GoG has no baseline indicators against which to measure the industry’s growth, and therefore must engage in the gathering of basic statistical production and export data on the creative industries – perhaps with the support of the OECS.
- In implementing this strategy, it is advised that the industry start with the ‘low-hanging fruit’. There is greater awareness and stronger development centred on music and performance or festivals than there is on other industries – and this may be the pole around which some of the other industries cluster. A strong music and festival industry has implications for the success of the audiovisual industries, for design and graphics, for dance, theatre and event management, and even for fashion.
- UNESCO Creative Economy Report, Special Edition 2013
- These figures were cited by former Jamaican Prime Minister Patterson in 2015 in a presentation on the creative industries to CARICOM Heads of Government