Jamaica Gleaner / Jamaican producer Jon FX, real name, John Crawford, is making major moves in the music industry, particularly in the international music market. Last year, he was the producer behind Sizzla Kalonji’s charting success I’m Yours , which entered both the Billboard reggae chart and Billboard Heatseeker’s chart at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Crawford had also worked extensively with the popular and recently deceased American rapper XXXTentacion.
According to Crawford, such feats have afforded him audiences with top-tier representatives of The Recording Academy and have earned him a seat at their table.
The Academy has 12 chapter boards made up of ‘governors’ across the United States, and Crawford was recently appointed as one such governor, serving on the board of the Florida Chapter. Also serving as governor in Florida is Lukes Morgan of Morgan’s Heritage, and Walshy Fire of Major Lazer serves as an adviser. The other chapters are located in Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nashville, New York, the Pacific Northwest, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas and Washington, DC.
Crawford told The Gleaner that he was invited to a dinner where the guests included DJ GQ, Walshy Fire, Lukes Morgan, Clinton Lindsay, other representatives from the Latin American community and Doug Emery, president of the Florida Chapter. And, as they say, the rest is history as the ball got rolling from there.
Before he gets a handle on the machinations of his governor role, Crawford believes he has a formula to guarantee dancehall and reggae’s climb up the international music charts. Part of this formula is: 150 streams are equivalent to one download.
“I introduced them (reggae and dancehall artistes) to the new standard. To chart, it’s based on streaming. There’s no more record sales or iTunes sales. They are done. The streaming standard is what I’ve been teaching people,” Crawford told The Gleaner .
Using Charly Black as an example, Crawford pointed out that the dancehall star’s Diamond plaque was earned through the power of streaming. Black’s Party Animal was a hit in the Latin American community with its current view count sitting at 82 million on YouTube alone.
“People don’t listen to the radio anymore. They listen to Pandora and Spotify, which has 20 million subscribers every month,” he underscored.
Some local players may have caught on to the wave. On June 11, Basil Jones Jr of Bazzle Amusement Social Communication launched the CueLineUp app, which will allow local recording artistes to add their tracks to various playlists for a fee of J$1,000.
On June 29, another American digital-music platform called MyMy Music will officially begin operation in Jamaica and the Caribbean. To kick this service off, the launch will double as the release of an album from recording artist Crucial Bankie from St Kitts.