Soul Klap Records Building A New Vision


By: Olimatta Taal
Kevin B & More 008.jpgSoul Klap Records is breaking into the Reggae industry in Jamaica with an ammunition full of experience from time spent at Universal Canada. CEO Kevin Barton, plans on using some of the same ideas that created one of the largest urban music departments in North America for Universal Records.

Moving back to Jamaica was an opportunity to take a break from music. The VP of Marketing for Cable & Wireless offered him a position in the company as Head of Mobile Marketing lining him up to work with clients like, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Prodigal Son, Busy Signal, Kiprich, Wayne Marshall, and others. As a result, a break from music never manifested itself, but instead gave way to a new business initiative for the Caribbean.

Barton refers to the music industry in Jamaica as being very young, "It reminds me of Toronto five years ago. The industry was full of talent but lacked business people, managers, booking agents, real established labels, licensors and publicists – it was just very young. More people have to get involved, not everyone can be an artist to move the industry forward."

Through Barton's expertise with Universal Records, his office was able to hold the title three years in a row of "Record Label of the Year." He launched multi-platinum artistes like Jay-Z, Eminem, Mary J Blige, Ja Rule, DMX, 2 Pac, Snoop Dog, Shaggy, and more. Expanding his horizons Baron worked on a top rated Canadian series, "Drop The Beat," he entered into a partnership in a men's clothing line called Quotes Classic, co-produced the Nike Battle Ground Soundtrack, handled product development and marketing for Reebok and became involved in a few other business ventures.

As Jamaica embraces a new marketing tycoon with a wide range of experience and extensive connections, can his knowledge and wisdom make a great impact on today's industry? Barton feels he can, "I want to help build a better business model. Being at B-Mobile, you can tell the difference between music and content. The physical property of a CD is not the same anymore. Lots of artistes are trying to get around that but soundscans show that percentages are down in sales of physical property."

This means that more artists and people in the industry have to come up with creative ways to ensure that they get their monies worth when it comes to royalties and develop innovative ways to sell and market their product. "Artist have become better business people. They are producers, have their own websites, tele-production, own merchandising, and are really becoming better. My strength is to become a branding executive," explains Barton with confidence.

As Kevin Barton uses some of his ideas at B-Mobile, he has a clear vision with Soul Klap Records in the midst of it, "I would like to see Jamaica as a country that starts to reap the financial gains of this country. Jamaican's are exploited we don't benefit enough. PUMA is an example of this with the Jamaica PUMA line which was the most profitable of all of their shoe lines, however I am sure no Jamaican made any money off of it. I want to facilitate an environment where the artist and the industry make money."