PUBLICATION DATE: February 13, 2004

Trench Town Rock: The Creation of Jamaica’s Music Industry Case Solution

From its origins in Jamaica, the country’s music can now be heard in pubs and clubs from Senegal to Samoa. It has also affected music from other states, like American rap. In the late 1990s, yearly sales of reggae recordings were estimated to be $1.2 billion, of which Jamaican musicians, producers, and songwriters brought in about $300 million, plus another $50 million from live performances and ancillary product sales.

This note describes the evolution of Jamaican musical genres, the development of the country’s music industry, and the business’s arrangement in the early 21st century; introduces the notion of industrial clusters–localized groups of businesses that grow around just one industry and contain all the necessary supporting businesses needed by the industry; and asks how industrial clusters supply benefits to participants, how they can be grown, and how a developing country can assemble an industry.

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