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September 28, 2007


Erik Russell

Excellent perspective. As an artist, producer and media person I am very sensitive to the disrespect and lack of value that our society and our business community places on artistic expression.

Two prime examples: businesses see nothing wrong with using a piece of recorded music in a radio or TV commercial without licensing that music from the owner. So many people believe that they can just use it without paying for the use of it. And they certainly don't see the need to pay an extra fee for the use of even royalty-free music, which by definition allows you to use the music commercially without paying ongoing royalties for each use; but there is still a COST for that music.

Second example: newspapers and web sites in the Bahamas completely disrespect the work of photographers, and particularly photographers that are not on their staff. They show this by not crediting photographers for their work, a practice that is not only accepted worldwide but that they always provide for their own photographers. Often, photographers provide P.R. photos at no or low cost to organisations, especially not-for-profit ones. A photo credit (that is, including the name of the photographer and company that supplied the photo) is often the only value that the photographer will receive. But even if the photographer WAS paid for the job, he/she must still be appropriately credit for their work, just as writers and staff photographers should be.

On a related note, electronic-based media (e.g. e-mail newsletters and web sites) should embed (or allow to be embedded) the photo credit directly onto the image, so that, if the image is "lifted" and used elsewhere, the credit goes with it.

Sorry for being so long-winded, but these matters are important ones.

Thanks -- continue in your great work.


larry smith

The commercial non-viability of the arts here is largely a function of market demand.

Our tiny population reduces volumes for so many endeavours. And in this case it affects both supply and demand.

Subsidizing the arts may be necessary if we want them to survive at all.

For example, ZNS owes more than a million dollars to the Performing Rights Society for the playing of copyrighted music.

Perhaps a similar obligation could be applied to support local performing artists?

Or should the government budget realistically for artistic contributions to national events?

There are probably many more creative concessions or incentives that could be offered.


One of the problems with Bahamian art & culturural expressions and productions is indeed the limited audiences they appeal to, and the limited pockets a large percentage of these audiences possess.

While the products may be acceptable and appealing to us, they are not competitive in the wider global community particularly in multicultural communities like the U.S. market which actually serves as a testing ground for global apppeal because of its multiculturalism and deep pockets.

Bahamaian artists have been advised for years to make their product more globally accepted in a commercial way but generally have not responded. Listen to the words and lyrics of most Bahamaian music and you will understand why globally they are generally not appealing and even in the Bahamas do not compete well against the more multicultural music we naively describe as "American Music".

I think Bahmaians do support the arts, but its all relative, with a miniscule market, limted budgets and significant competition from more globally appealing multicultural artistic productions and performances it may appear that we don't support our own. In fact I think we do well under the truthful circumstances.

Globally much of Bahmaian artistic production is looked at and has been described in international reviews as promotional touristic endeavours and true art afficianados tend not to take it serious.

We therefore also have to look at our artistic expressions and see whether much of it trually can compete commercially against more multicultural artistic expressions and productions.


Indeed the Bahamas has some excellent arists and productions that can compete globally, but as with many third world economies financial support for the arts both publicly and privately will usually not be supported to the extent it will be in first world economies or truly wealthy economies.

We have problems in the Bahamas supporting some of the most basic needs of society and to many that comes first. It will be up t the artistic community to demonstrate that support of the arts is just as important a societal objective.

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