iTunes recognises soca and calypso as official music categories.
Local music in Trinidad and Tobago and by large the Caribbean, has come a long way. US-based iTunes Music Store, a division of Apple Inc., has announced that both Calypso and Soca music art forms have been designated official musical categories on its Internet marketplace. This is a major breakthrough towards the recognition of both genres in the international music market.
Previously, music tracks from these two Trinidad-rooted genres were listed without formal categorization under a variety of rubrics, including “reggae,” “Latin” or “Caribbean.” “This is a major step forward for calypso and soca,” said award-winning filmmaker and bestselling author Dr Geoffrey Dunn, who has advanced an initiative in the United States to facilitate such designations. “iTunes was very responsive to the request and sensitive to the cultural implications of such recognition. I am very grateful for this decision.”
Trinidad-based music publisher and promoter Alvin Daniell, who is coordinating a broader initiative with Dunn, called the recognition an “historic moment” for music rooted in the Caribbean. “This breakthrough will ensure that, first and foremost, our music will now be properly categorised,” said Daniell. “When a particular T&T artist had a hit song prior to this, our country and our region were never given due credit. Now, that has changed.”
Prior efforts over the past decade—including an Internet petition—to generate such recognition met with no success. “Sometimes a personal approach is more effective,” said Dunn, who lives in Northern California, close to Apple headquarters. “iTunes fully grasped the cultural significance of such a designation. They did the right thing.”
Daniell said that the iTunes recognition—calypso and soca now appear with approximately three-dozen other genres under the heading of “World” music—will help usher in a new era of opportunity for calypso and soca artistes throughout the Caribbean and the diaspora. “It impacts all aspects of the income generated by our artistes,” he noted. “We firmly believe that with the new listings it will be easier to source our works and that will lead to increased income and recognition for our artistes.”