In global terms, Reggae is flourishing. Most countries have at least one large reggae-specific festival or related event featuring new and classic Jamaican bands or artists alongside established American and European acts. More importantly, each country will have their own acts rubbing shoulders with the better known acts.
Yet, with all of this planet-wide activity, there is little indication that reggae has any kind of saleable quality, i.e., very few reggae songs or albums chart around the world. Considering that rock bands using reggae-inspired content in their lyrics and music have seen a fairly high level of success, it isn’t happening for true reggae acts somehow.
Why is this happening? Personally, I feel that there is an indifference from the major music labels to the music because of its well known message of peace, love, unity as well as the more spiritual element in Rastafarian culture and manifesto.
The same seems to have happened with more traditional Punk and New Wave content, Punk especially because of its sociopolitical leanings. But the pretty-young-person image driven so-called punk bands who to me are no better than S-Club 7 with guitars are raking it in and killing the independent, alternative undercurrence by unashamedly embracing high level commercialism. Sanitisation? I think so.
I don’t think that reggae needs commercial success but I do seriously believe that, especially in the modern world, it could do with a lot more respect.
One love – Always.