As streaming services make recorded music accessible and cheap, concerts, tours and live events have become the new money-minting part of the music business. Artists are getting creative with what forms those live events can take and, in turn, fans flock to them for new kinds of experiences with their favorite artists. The latest evidence of this new tactic: A reggae music cruise that’s sold out almost a whole year before it sets sail.
The Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, a five-night escapade setting sail on December 9th, 2019 and helmed by Grammy-winning reggae musician Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, sold out in record time this year for its sixth iteration — and with no lineup yet announced, according to promoters. Its first excursion in 2014 hosted 2,400 passengers; by 2016, it doubled to 4,370. Next year’s sold-out cruise will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stop in Ochos Rios and Falmouth, Jamaica.
“We are all very proud to see Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise entering into its sixth year with the momentum that it has. Jamrock is a testament, showing the love that the world has for reggae music and Jamaican culture,” said Dan Dalton, Marley’s manager and business partner. Marley added: “For us to be where we are now, its really something to be proud of. At the same time, it take a whole heap ah work. So as quickly as you celebrate, the celebration is over and its back to planning and thinking about ‘what’s next?’ Its very much a mission in that sense.”
But the niche cruise’s success is also a testament to the burgeoning new wave of music “experiences” proliferating on top of run-of-the-mill concert tours on the ground. Music-centric cruises have proven unexpectedly popular among both artists and fans, in a way rivaling the traditional arena residencies that some musicians choose to take up. Pitbull, for instance, also took to the seas with his “Pitbull After Dark” cruise for the last two years. Other artists who’ve put their faith in music cruises include KISS, Kid Rock, and Weezer, with more names surely to come in the next few years.