Sunday 29 November, 2020

Boo Hinkson urges musicians to use COVID-19 downturn wisely

Ronald “Boo” Hinkson

Ronald “Boo” Hinkson

Saint Lucian musician Ronald “Boo” Hinkson says the COVID-19 pandemic has left many lessons to be learnt by local musicians.

The music industry has been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.

According to the veteran Saint Lucian guitarist, artistes should take advantage of the time during the pandemic by improving their craft.

“Use this time to become better, compose, and do some recordings so that when this is all over your name is in the fore.

My agent just released one of my songs from five years ago and I got to number one on the Radio Guitar One charts but I can’t perform the song anywhere now and I can’t tour but what I do know is that when this is all over promotors will remember that Boo Hinkson recently had a number one hit and people will want to hear it, so my advice to young artists is to continue writing, keep recording and keep your name in the fore.”

The majority of Saint Lucian musicians are self-employed or in temporary employment, with performances being their main source of income.

Events which gave these musicians that opportunity have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them unable to earn any revenue.

Existing casual work arrangements also meant that most musicians were unable to access funds from the National Insurance Corporation Programme.

Many have resorted to virtual concerts in an effort to make some money; however, the veteran musician says it is not enough.

“The virtual concerts are virtually free except if you can set up a virtual tip jar where people can contribute,” Hinkson noted.

“There are things like Bandcamp that musicians can go on to sell their merchandise and music there and they will keep fifteen cents on each dollar which is far better than streaming.”

According to Hinkson, there has been a huge paradigm shift with the music industry, and local musicians must keep up.

“For instance, they don’t sell CDs anymore so the musician is not making money on CDs and they move to streaming.

When you stream on Spotify or iTunes you probably get about .00397 on a cent, that is no money except if you in the top tier; to make money off streaming is very difficult. People who believe you making money off a stream that is a myth,” Hinkson said.

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