Reggae artiste I-Octane believes artistes should not shy away from merging their talents with Corporate companies, as this is by no means a ‘sell-out’ move.
The artiste pointed to acts like Drake and Rihanna who have taken their careers to new heights due to collaborations with entities like Apple and Tidal respectively.
According to I-Octane, especially in light of declining record sales, artistes should focus more on branding and aligning with corporate companies.
“We as Jamaicans don’t like to brand ourselves. As a artiste sey him a guh brand himself, they start to say dem man deh sell out, dem man deh pants tight, dem man deh locks too neat and a bag of frivolous things. So it’s clear that we are not understanding the business part of it. So when a next man tries it and gets the full understanding of the business part, it looks strange to your peers,” I-Octane said.
Music Is A Business
The artiste, who has worked as an ambassador for companies like Busta, Golden Eagle and Digicel, believes the industry ought to understand that music is a business. He also lashed out against critics of new, yet popular recording artiste Shenseea, who claim that the singer has risen to stardom too fast. I-Octane is of the view that her team at Romeich Records is doing exactly what they should be doing in terms of branding.
“That is exactly what they did to I-Octane. I don’t view her rise as being wrong, they are doing it perfect. Some of them say Octane buy out the business, and him sign corporate deal, so him do this and him pay fi dat. But that is what your music is supposed to do, this is a business. If I sign to Jay-Z right now, I can guarantee that I will be the biggest reggae artiste in Jamaica by tomorrow. So it is about branding … the industry tends to brand people like Shaggy and Sean Paul, who have made a transition, as sell-outs. But trust me, developing your brands, that is the way to go.”
The artiste is promoting a new self-produced album titled Love and Life. He believes sales have plummeted in the reggae market due to the lack of proper infrastructure, and also highlighted that his new album is not about sales, but rather establishing his brand.
“The decline of sales in reggae was inevitable because we never had an infrastructure from the get-go. Pop music has an infrastructure, where they put the business side of music first. But our business is a trial-and-error thing, because we started very informal. In other countries, they put you through school as musicians and by the time you leave school, you are a complete artiste,” he said.
Jay-Z, through a deal with Samsung, was able to sell a million copies of his Meagan Carter album before its release. While Drake, who signed a $20 million deal with Apple Music, was able to top iTunes streams globally in 2016.
Reggae artiste Chronixx recently announced that he is collaborating with apparel brand Adidas for a particular project. He also shared a photo on Instagram wearing sport apparel and juggling a football to highlight his affiliation with sports.