Things Ghana Music Lack Which Are Hurting The Young Artistes
As far as music is concerned, MUSIGA (Musicians Union of Ghana) and GHAMRO (Ghana Music Rights Organization) are the only names most artistes are familiar with. The former is well known but most people do not understand their functionalities. From observations, the music industry lack some important things we must consider implementing with the help of the names mentioned above.
GHAMRO is the only organization that pays attention to some aspects of the music industry. But their effectiveness is limited to some people and not felt by all; especially the up and coming artistes… MUSIGA on the other hand, is very popular and people understand they stand behind artistes to steer their career; but only registered members enjoy these privileges…
I believe having an independent organization that can make sure the basic entertainment rules are implemented and are practiced by all irrespective of their membership status, will solve a lot of problems in the music industry.
Some of these things include the illegal use intellectual properties and overriding creative works without facing any consequences. Artistes jump on cover songs without any sort of approval from the copyright owner and not bothering to know if the song is open for public use or not. I heard there are copyright laws in Ghana, but most up and coming artistes do not know how and where to go if their songs are “Stolen” or sampled by another artistes (mainstream artistes are reported to be the culprits in most cases).
This has become even more disturbing to the extend that, some of these “copied” works (Lyrics or beat sampling) even win awards at the prestigious Ghana Music Awards; an award scheme which happens to be the most recognized and trusted award scheme in Ghana and all over the world… If there were checks in place to detect these issues, maybe these awful situations wont have floated up in full display. We can’t blame VGMA for these errors but blame the system for not providing them with facts on intellectual property thefts.
Young artistes are always left in the dark because, they cant fight these issues on their own. When they talk about it, people smear them with the “You are looking for attention” tags. This way, the young artistes remain where they are and their creations are being enjoyed by those who are lucky to appear beneath the spotlight.
Another issue is the music charts. I have seen a lot of Charts online from various websites, radio stations and TV stations. I am not here to question the credibility of these Charts; but I don’t know how we can all rely on one platform to determine who is topping charts. If we can have a central platform that can collect data from all the individual charts and make them a national and approved analytics, I think we can really have something to rely on, and the award schemes can use those data to properly award the most popular songs and artiste of the year categories.
If all music websites, Radio, TV and streaming platforms are able to submit their top songs (Downloads and Plays) to take part in the chart, it will help the upcoming artistes who do not “Know People” or have money to pay Djs and presenters to put their songs on replay (Instead of enjoying royalties from airplay)… Some young artistes have heavy number of downloads and plays on websites since that is the only platform they can promote their songs on; but sadly, these artistes are not seen anywhere near the charts. A typical example of this case is Kofi Kinaata and Donzy‘s “Crude” which had of 15,000 downloads on Loud Sound GH alone.
How the Ghanaian music industry is structured, makes it very difficult for about 80% of the young artistes to be properly recognized and awarded accordingly. If these checks are put in place, I believe it will give the young artistes some hope and encourage them to do more knowing they have someone watching their back. They are vulnerable at the moment and only miracles can reveal them to the world.
I would love to read your take on this and read about some of the things you think is hurting the average up and coming artiste in Ghana… Don’t forget to share if you find this to be useful and must be implemented. (Written By Mr. Aborga for Loud Sound Ghana)