Singing all the Way to the Bank: The Case for Economic Development through Music in Cape Verde
There has been an increasing awareness within the developed world that the cultural industries may play an important role in economic development. The fact that most of the commercial cultural industries have relatively low distribution costs, and that the gains from the mass production of a ‘hit’ recording can be substantial, have alerted policy makers to the possibility of a more dispersed location pattern; one that possibly need not concentrate at the core. Moreover, there is acknowledgement that all countries have a potential cultural heritage elements of which might be translated into cultural industries products; in fact, in a market place where novelty is king, new ideas and novel formulations are likely to be at the leading edge. Put simply, the cultural industries have been shown to be net positive contributors to economic growth; the cultural industries are not necessarily rooted in one place, production can move to the talent and visa versa; both can still have access to a market. Nations and regions that are able to make a contribution to cultural industries production may reap considerable local benefits. Cape Verde's prosperity resides in the intellectual capacity of its people; and Cape Verde’s history has many examples of how challenge and adversity can be transformed into hope and opportunity. Cesaria Evora put Cape Verde on the map for many people to listen to and enjoy: this has been welcomed news. The even better news is that Cape Verde has a seemingly never-ending source of talented singers and performers waiting to be discovered and promoted on the international scene, just like Brazil with its young soccer players. This paper will try to show how the development of a vibrant and active music industry in Cape Verde can provide this country with a medium for long term economic growth and development. It uses a few case studies to illustrate this point: Senegal, Austin, and Jamaica. Finally, it provides a way forward for what should be the key elements of a strategy that Cape Verdeans should develop to brand and build a globally competitive Cape Verdean Music industry.
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