Say what you will about the “hustle” that the Soca music business has been branded as over the years, artistes have been benefitting from it all, earning rapidly as they hop from island to island, country to country, sharing their music with carnival loving people around the world. These days, the newly crowned Groovy Soca King of Antigua, Ricardo Drue, is contemplating what’s to come. Recently, news broke that there are plans afoot in the Caribbean to digitalize Caribbean music. He says this is incredible news for the region, and says every artiste in the Caribbean should become better informed on the process, and what’s involved.
Drue is one who passionately hones his craft. He works hard and wants the best for the industry for both his sake and that of his cohorts in the business. “I take pride in understanding the music business, so something like the Caribbean Development Bank’s proposed involvement in the development of the Caribbean music industry, and the process of getting our music on par with global digitization standards, to me, is really interesting and welcomed,” said the young entertainer. The CDB has approved a grant to aid in the music digitization process, saying that it has noted the worldwide shift in the direction of digital music distribution- a shift that has left the Caribbean music industry at a disadvantage on an international scale. Drue agrees. “This would mean so much for us. It may mean the difference between reaching 10,000 people now, and reaching 1 million people for the same period, when this digitization of our music here in the Caribbean manifests.
For many Caribbean entertainers, the road to global popularity or slight international acknowledgement for that matter, has been an uphill climb. It’s been tough for Soca music particularly. However with ongoing moves to turn the world on to the genre that many agree, may be the next to globally penetrate, Drue says this announcement by the CDB couldn’t have come at a better time. Last month, Ricardo won himself his third consecutive Soca Monarch title in Antigua- the island of his birth. He says while such titles are always appreciated, and prove that soca music’s Caribbean fan base remains engaged, the desire, among Caribbean entertainers to reach bigger audiences around the world, cannot be denied. “Our artistes performing at Drake’s OVO Fest in Toronto- that was huge! Caribbean music makers stirring up excitement at music festivals like SXSW and Coachella- that’s epic,” said Drue, adding, “this move to digitalize our music can only mean better chances for all of us.”
According to the Caribbean Development Bank, the digitalization of the Caribbean music industry will lower distribution and production costs and certainly allow for easier and greater access to Caribbean music collections across the world. Amid his excitement over this recent bit of news, the ‘Stamp Yuh Name’ singer continues his jet setting agenda, preparing for the next booking, wherever it may be. He’s enjoying a successful ride and says there are no plans to slow down, anytime soon.