Thursday, August 17, 2017

Damian Marley banks on Stony Hill digital sales

Damian Marley's Stony Hill album cover

Since the July 21 release of his fourth solo studio album Stony Hill, Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley admits that his focus is less on album sales and more on sharing his music with fans through live performances and digital streams.

Popular digital music outlets such as Tidal  of which Marley is part owner — iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, Google Play, Pandora, 8tracks, Shazam, Apple Music, and more, have diminished the need for physical music forms like compact disc (CDs), vinyl records, and cassettes. However, digital music streams are now overtaking these popular downloading platforms.

Weighing in on the issue, Damian Marley conveys his perspective. “I feel it [digital music streams] is the way of the future whether we like it or not. So the best thing to do is to be aware of that and to align yourself with that kind of meditation because the world does go on,” says Marley.


“When I started doing music way back it was all about the physical copies, which is something I really loved because me like have the booklet to read the lyrics and the credits. But there is a next generation growing up now that never experienced that. It’s all about looking at your phone and experiencing music through your devices. That’s the reality of the world. Streaming is the new frontier and more and more the numbers are showing that. Physical sales are going down. People aren’t even paying to download music now as much as they used to. So iTunes download sales are down, but their streaming numbers are up. So, you either accept that or you don’t; but if you don’t accept it you ah go lose,” shares a candid Marley.

According to a 2016 article posted on Forbes.com, the music industry is already conforming. “Recently, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) changed the methodology by which albums are certified gold and platinum In the new structure, 150 streams of a song equals one paid download, and ten paid downloads equates to an album download. So, an artist’s music will have to be streamed on any of the approved, included services 1,500 times for an album “sale” to be counted.” 

Gong also points out the consumer’s advantage in the digital streaming world. “When you think about it, what you pay for one album gives you a monthly access to every album ever made.”

However, based on audience reaction from his recent unprecedented extensive tour of Africa, Marley, received reassurance that music is best conveyed in person. “More time when artiste go to Africa, you might play on one or two shows then you leave and go back home. But what I’ve been saying over the years is why can’t we tour Africa the same way we tour the US or Europe. It was a challenge, but we were able to put six states together and we really hope that we can continue to build on that.”

“Even going to Africa... I noticed the world is more in touch with each other than they were 10 years ago. You can be in Africa and you know exactly what is happening in Jamaica. So you no longer have that time lapse like when you were waiting on physical copies to reach,” explains Marley.

Junior Gong’s 18 track record album, Stony Hill, released 12 years after his revered Welcome to Jamrock album, debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae album chart. His brother Stephen Marley is featured on “Grown and Sexy”, Perfect Picture” and “Medication”; the latter being one of the more hard-hitting and popular efforts from the album. Bounty Killer’s son Major Myjah, who collaborated on “Upholstery”, is the only other act featured on the album. Entitled Stony Hill, the neighbourhood where Marley was raised, is also the name of his medical marijuana dispensary in the United States – Stony Hill Corporation.

The 39-year-old Marley is continuing his work with reggae act Kabaka Pyramid. Gong looks forward to sharing his messages of triumph, motivation and prosperity from Stony Hill through future performances in his hometown Jamaica and other performances across the world for the remainder of 2017.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Aidonia, the philanthropic Headliner


One Voice Foundation founder Sheldon “Aidonia” Lawrence stands along side Maxfield Park Primary’s principal,
 Mrs. Beverly Gallimore and the 2017 recipients of the One Voice Educational Foundation scholarships, certificates and book grants which he presented at the school on Wednesday, July 5

Aidonia recently shared more than advice with a few students of the Maxfield Park Primary where he addressed the fifth and sixth grade classes to motivate the youngsters, and to formally hand out certificates, scholarships and book grants to this year’s One Voice Educational Foundation grantees.

Through the One Voice Educational Foundation, Sheldon “Aidonia” Lawrence has been formally giving back to the Maxfield community since 2015. Each academic year a ‘top boy’ and ‘top girl’ are selected by the school from grade six and the One Voice Educational Foundation grants the students full scholarships for the five year duration of high school. Academic achievers from grades five and six are also selected to receive book grants and gift certificates to assist the students in purchasing school appliances.

Students are awarded based on academic performances, and exceptional behavioral displays throughout the school year.

One Voice Educational Foundation Scholarship recipient Shamar Baker
stands proudly with her certificate for top achiever, between her school’s principal Mrs. Beverly Gallimore,
and One Voice Foundation founder Sheldon “Aidonia” Lawrence.
On Wednesday July 5, Aidonia visited 
Maxfield Park Primary school
where he awarded top achievers with full 5-year scholarships, book grants and certificates.

Maxfield Park Primary’s top achiever, and a 2017 recipient of the One Voice Educational Foundation scholarship Shamar Baker was excited to meet the Dancehall Heavyweight but felt even more proud to be receiving her first scholarship. “We have to work hard and our teachers put in a lot of work too, I am so happy to get the help, and from Aidonia too”, the scholar shared in joy. Shamar is one of five awardees receiving aid through the One Voice Educational Foundation.
As a Dancehall heavyweight, Aidonia is setting the summer season ablaze with his latest hit Yeah Yeah. The catchy summer song has been getting rave reviews since its release, with increasing rotation on the airwaves and even a stronger presence at summer party events.  
Yeah Yeah has been setting the tone for the summer and has easily been the biggest track for the sizzling period. Aidonia recently appeared at BRT Weekend, July 7, in Atlantic City, New Jersey where the track hit among a vastly US based audience, showing it is not only a local hit.
 
The track has also been in the news following a video of his remix of DJ Khaled and Rihanna featuring Bryson Tiller’s Wild Thoughts, Real Yaad Man Style, being played on New York’s Hot 97 Radio was posted. The video was posted by renowned Hot 97 DJ Bobby Konders who was recording his live radio set.

Aidonia is currently having one of his most consistent runs in the industry, with back to back hits to show for it. The lyrical powerhouse has been dominant with tracks including Dat a Di Ting, Nuh Boring Gal, Hey Yo, Banga and IG Girls to name a few. He recently released his latest music video to accompany the track Krayzay on Tuesday, July 18 which has already garnered over 10,000 views on YouTube.
Having made presentations to the scholars on Wednesday, July 5, at a special ceremony held on the school grounds, for the recipients, Aidonia opted to share a message with the entire fifth and 6th grade population.

“When I was your age I knew the importance of staying focused. I believed in myself from my primary years and used education to help me. What you learn in school at every stage is what builds a good foundation, along with other things. Like focusing on your future and to never feel less than because of where you are from. What makes you different is how strong your foundation is. That is why One Voice is trying to help you youth become the best.”

The Deejay recently appeared in Atlanta and Connecticut following his BRT Atlantic City performance and was also a headliner at Reggae Sumfest 25 before his most recent ignition at Dream Weekend with his Magnum Live performance. Following his Dream Live appearance Aidonia is slated to appear in Antigua before flying to Europe in August.

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