Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Greensleeves Wants a Bleeping Compromise

Greensleeves reggae label wants government to allow songs with daggering and bleeps for late night broadcast but concedes that, at times, local radio goes too far.
At the same time, it does not expect the ban to hurt these songs popularity.

"I think they should be more laxed in deciding when these (daggering songs) can be played," Greensleeves president, Olivier Chastan told the Observer from his UK office. "That is what they do in the UK and the US, in the day you cannot air that stuff either, it must be done within specific hours."

The restrictions will ban scores of popular songs including, Dagga Dat by Bragga and Ramping Shop by Vybz Kartel and Spice who never use the term dagger in the track.

Violent songs by artistes such as Mavado and Sizzla will also be banned as they require censorship. The ban was enforced by the Broadcasting Commission on Friday. It has inadvertently turned these songs about sex and violence into protest anti-establishment music. Greensleeves thinks this will fuel its popularity.

"At the end of the day I don't really have a strong opinion on the statutory requirements. I don't think it will change the popularity of the music. I don't think their will be a huge impact. Look at music from the 80s including Love Pu*a*i Bad they were popular and I do not think that radio was as lax as it is today," said Chastan, who added that Jamaican radio plays music which is disallowed in other markets.

The Broadcasting Commission described these recordings as being "explicitly sexual and violent" and contrary to sections of the Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulations and against certain tenets of the Children's Code for Programming. As a result, the commission had decreed that radio, television and cable stations must not transmit any recording, live song or music video which promotes or is suggestive of daggering.

The ban will not affect Greensleeves earnings as local radio market is small. However, it has already begun editing songs for its overseas markets years before.

"For us we are already affected by it. We have had to make (songs) clean years before (in the international market). In Jamaica there was a lot of freedom in terms of what comes on radio. Not necessarily in a good or bad way but its just incredible the amount of freedom and expression on radio, not on TV which is more regulated," Chastan continued. "We are putting some slack music on CD but we have also been policing ourselves for years. Because we cannot play a slack video on MTV and it wouldn't be played on commercial radio in the US. So we have been having to recut songs and change lyrics regularly for the past 10 years or so."

At the same time, Chastan is concerned of its impact on artiste creativity, that artistes may adjust their craft in order to secure airplay. He says that artistic freedom enables creativity.

"At the end of the day for me the question is how this is going to impact the choice of content for the artiste. That is going to be interesting to watch," he said. "We see Busy Signal,

Mavado and Vybz Kartel competing in terms of who is going to be the most outrageous . At times they have created extremely interesting music. Look at Busy Signal's Tic Toc. It is a very funny song. You need to give the artistes freedom to create."

Artistes are not the only agents of socialisation he says and calls on the family and the media to play their role.
Greensleeves is a subsidiary of VP Records both once were rivals until last January in a buy out deal.

The commission in its statement defined daggering as "a colloquial term used in dancehall culture as a reference to hardcore sex or what is popularly referred to as dry sex, or the activities of persons engaged in the public simulation of various sexual acts and positions".

Source: Jamaican Observer

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