Levent Karahan may have returned to his native Turkey, but he remains inextricably linked to Jamaica.
Through his efforts to find ways to promote and distribute what's good about the island's music forms, he is giving back to a country whose music, people and culture he has come to love.
Karahan, who lived in Jamaica between 2002 and 2010 and is considered among the pioneers of digital music distribution, has established a software which will enable Jamaica-based music producers to access worldwide digital music distribution, free of charge.
“There would be no fees, no commission, no revenue shares,” Karahan told the Jamaica Observer in Antalya, Turkey, recently.
“This is aimed at triggering positive change in Jamaica through music. I believe Jamaican music should go straight from Jamaica to the world with all barriers removed — money barriers and technology barriers,” he added.
Karahan, a former Sony Music A&R and publisher with Universal Music, made it clear that only creators of “positive”, ethnic Jamaican music will be qualified to be distributed via his portal www.eveara.com/jamaica .
“There will be no charge as long as the lyrics do not encourage negatives such as promote violence and denigrate women. This outlet is aimed to encourage Jamaican music producers to produce more positive music,” shared Karahan, who attended Jamaica's Reggae Boyz's friendly international match against South Korea in Antalya on January 30.
He noted that producers — both amateur and professional — of new bodies of work, plus those in possession of catalogues are welcome to offer their work through this distribution facility.
Music producers can now distribute their music via all relevant digital music retailers such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Digicel Music.
“Once fans download and/or stream their music, Apple and Spotify, for example, collect the money for it, keep their portion and send the rest to us — which we hand over to the Jamaican music producers. I mean 100 per cent of it,” Karahan explained.
The music distributor, through his Irish-based Eveara music company, says he stands to make no money from the income of the Jamaican producers, claiming that this was his way to give back to the island by helping producers to self-actualise their earning potential.
Karahan said his income from digital distribution comes from producers of music in Europe and the USA.
He noted that as music streaming is taking the world by storm, he was spurred into action — as he thought Jamaica was lagging behind.
“Jamaica is nowhere close to where it could and should be. I strongly believe that Jamaica could become the world's most successful music exporter per capita,” he reasoned.
“To do so, the Jamaican music industry has to face its challenges and rapidly remove barriers currently preventing Jamaican music from capturing an increased share of the digital music space.
“We are trying to get local music producers to access all relevant digital music retailers worldwide via our easy to use, do-it-yourself user interface, and distribute their music from Jamaican music studios to the world, track and trace revenue, and trigger direct payouts at any given time,” Karahan noted.
While he was living in Jamaica, the Turk was heavily involved in the Jamaican music sector, working with some of the top producers and performers.