How do Soca Artists Make Money? | A Message to DJ's & Radio Stations

Why ask this question when Soca artists are all over the world performing at shows and getting paid? Here is the thing: I am now part of a growing movement out of Philadelphia called Islandvbybe Radio. I have had the opportunity to listen to many of the DJs as they ply their trade, their musical wizardry, and the music they love hearing. Initially, I was taken aback by the amount of dancehall music played on the station, but that did not really bother me because I am all for Caribbean culture. However, after listening to the Soca music played, I realized that with the amount of new songs released every year and now throughout the year, the Soca on Islandvybe is not keeping up with the amount of new music released.

Why is that important to me? Well, look, each DJ knows their audience and plays the music that audience knows and loves. There is nothing wrong with all the soca from years past. We need to continue playing those songs; it creates a huge database of music to play, leading to only good things for the artists. However, my gripe about the lack of new music released almost daily is just this: Do you know how Soca artists make money from the music they release? It is not like long ago when people purchased a 45 rpm or 33 rpm record or even CDs. Those were actual sales and could be counted per sale of each item. Today, it is all digital, and the artists literally give away their music in the hope that DJs and radio stations will popularize the music, ensuring that, if the song or songs are good enough, along with the popularity of the artist, they will be hired and paid to do shows! Did you get that?

Well, if you don't play the new songs, it just won't happen, and here is the kicker: the music producers get paid up front! So you need to play the new music to help the artists. You help them, and they help you! Most of the DJs playing the music don't pay a royalty to use the music! So what the hell, play the damn music! The artists have invested heavily to make that song happen, and if they are not Machel, Patrice, Problem Child, V'ghn, Teddyson, Voice, Kes, or some other popular artists, they will lose money on the production! Don't get mad; just try to keep that in mind when you go on air or play songs at a party. Your choices help make or break Soca artists. Keep in mind that Shaggy and other Jamaican artists are transitioning to Soca. So lighten the dancehall load, increase the Soca, and play more of the new music, OK?

Yes, some Soca artists are doing just fine, but those are the very popular ones you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok every day. Some female artists know how to portray themselves to attract men by the way they dress or dress little. But ask yourselves this: what about the others? There are so many talented artists out there with good music. Give them a chance to recoup their production costs and eat a little food too, please!

Soca artists make money in a variety of ways, including:

  • Live performances: This is the most common way for Soca artists to make money. They can perform at festivals, concerts, and other events.
  • Streaming: Soca artists can earn money from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. The amount of money they earn depends on the number of streams their songs receive.
  • Digital downloads: Soca artists can also sell their songs digitally through platforms like iTunes and Amazon.
  • Merchandise: Soca artists can sell merchandise like t-shirts, hats, and other items to their fans.
  • Sponsorships: Soca artists can also sign sponsorship deals with companies like alcohol brands and clothing brands.
  • Publishing: Soca artists can earn money from publishing royalties. This is when a company uses the artist's song in a commercial or other media.

In addition to these traditional methods, soca artists are also starting to make money through new digital platforms like NFTs. NFTs are unique digital assets that can be used to represent things like music, art, and videos. Soca artists can sell NFTs of their songs or music videos to fans.

The amount of money that Soca artists make varies depending on their popularity and success. The most successful Soca artists can earn millions of dollars per year. However, even less successful Soca artists can still make a good living from their music.

Addendum (06/26/2023):

Here are six ways an artiste can earn money digitally:

  1. Live studio sessions
  2. Crowdfunding
  3. Website and YouTube monetization
  4. Merch (Merchandise)
  5. Podcasts or vlogs
  6. NFTs

Newsday TT:

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