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Senator Randall Mitchell Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts

Local artistes should host and create virtual events using digital platforms which can export events to a global audience – and can be monetised.

Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said his ministry is encouraging artistes to do so. He was responding during yesterday’s Senate to Opposition queries on measures to develop production of virtual performances by musicians/artistes after reduction in live music performances because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mitchell said the pandemic has reduced artistes’ ability to perform in the conventional way.

“The ministry encourages musicians/artistes to host virtual performances and create virtual events, which utilise digital platforms. The platforms provide artistes and creatives with the opportunity to export cultural assets to a global audience and can be monetised.”

He detailed measures to assist musicians/artistes including a 50 per cent reduction in rental cost of performance spaces at the the National Academy for Performing Arts, the Southern Academy for Performing Arts, Naparima Bowl and Queen’s Hall.

“ To date, 37 artistes and organisations have benefited from this initiative, since implementation in July 2020,” he said.

He also cited benefits from the National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers plus the National Days and Festivals (NDFF) Fund and the Culture and Creative Arts (CCAF) Fund

“Since the advent of the pandemic, several of the requests received under both Funds have been for virtual events. The ministry continues to consider and support requests, which are innovative and developmental in nature.”

“Due to restrictions on public gatherings, celebrations were curtailed for numerous cultural events. In response, the ministry provided sponsorship to cultural events such as Divali Utsav Virtual Concert, Soca in White Virtual Concert and Sans Humanite Extempo Virtual Showdown. These events have reached a large audience with the Divali Utsav reaching 20 million views.”

Mitchell added, “Members of the public are reminded of the need to abide by all health protocols and avoid large gatherings as a means of limiting COVID spread.”

Mitchell also said the Caribbean region is looking to make a joint approach to access Spotify audio streaming and media services services. He said while there’s no legal impediment, T&T’s market level isn’t large enough for T&T alone to access Spotify.