Jamaica’s Prime Minister to speak at REGGAE ACADEMY launch

KINGSTON – On Monday April 23rd, 2007 the RIAJam will host a media reception to officially launch the REGGAE ACADEMY and AWARDS.

The first REGGAE ACADEMY AWARDS show is being planned for February 2008 in Kingston. Special guest speaker at the media reception will be Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller.

The efforts of the Recording Industry Association of Jamaica/RIAJam in establishing the REGGAE ACADEMY should be applauded and given full support by persons involved in the Reggae music industry.

Upon its incorporation in 2003 as a Jamaican registered non profit association, the board of directors of the RIAJam lead by its chairman Cleveland “Clevie” Browne identified the staging of an international music award befitting of the worldwide acclaim of Reggae music as one of its primary objectives.

In order to realize this objective the RIAJam moved to first establish the REGGAE ACADEMY as a division of RIAJam charged with responsibility for dealing with matters pertaining to awards categories, nominations and voting for awards winners.

The REGGAE ACADEMY is now accepting applications from songwriters, vocalists, musicians, producers, engineers, label owners, media representatives, sound system operators, agents and artist managers from around the world who are involved in the production and promotion of Reggae and Dancehall recordings.

As is the case with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences/NARAS, which is the body responsible for the GRAMMYS, membership to the REGGAE ACADEMY will attract an annual membership fee.

Registered members of the REGGAE ACADEMY will have the right and privilege to participate in the process of submitting entries, as well as voting for the nominees and winners in each category.

The registered members of the REGGAE ACADEMY will also be entitled to discounted tickets for the very prestigious first class awards show being planned, along with preferential seating arrangements.

Membership will also include entitlement to participate in the business networking activities, showcases, workshops and conferences being planned by RIAJam to take place at the time of the awards show.

The REGGAE ACADEMY AWARDS will be the final event in a series of music business activities over a three-day period that will attract Reggae music performers, producers, record company executives and media from all over the world.

The REGGAE ACADEMY has set up a network on MYSPACE that has already attracted almost 2000 such persons from more than 30 different countries. The page can be found at www.myspace.com/reggaeacademy.

Already several regional and international television and Internet broadcasters have expressed interest in entering into arrangements with RIAJam for the international broadcast of the awards show, and these will be pursued in the months leading up to the staging of the show.

The members of the board of directors of the RIAJam, as well as the persons serving on the REGGAE ACADEMY steering committee are very upbeat about the prospects for the REGGAE ACADEMY AWARDS. They view the project as being significantly different from all other awards that have sought to feature Reggae music in that the REGGAE ACADEMY AWARDS is being run by an organization that represents a broad group of persons and companies directly involved in the business of making and distributing sound recordings. Based on the contractual arrangements made by RIAJam for the financing and production of the awards show, the local Reggae music industry is slated to receive direct benefits from the awards show, as 50% of all profits generated will be used by RIAJam to deal with its industry development activities. The other 50% will go to independent third party investors and executive producers of the show. The REGGAE ACADEMY AWARDS will be dedicated specifically to the business of recordings in Reggae, Dancehall and their off-shoots, and winners will be decided by the votes of persons in the industry who are directly involved in the making of music. The awards will be issued in just over 30 categories for which winners will not be chosen on the basis of record sales or public popularity, but by the vote of their peers. There will however be two special “People’s Choice” awards that will be issued based on a public email and text voting system.

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