Intensified Agitations; An Exercise To Yield An Improvement In Our Music Industry?

Shatta Wale & Yaa Pono

It is trite knowledge that artistes record songs to serve several purposes. Primarily, it is commonly known that they record songs to entertain.

There are other motives that also enkindle them to assemble lyrics. One of such motives is when they have some serious concerns to make. In that regard, they adopt the music as a medium to ventilate their grievances. Barely 2 weeks ago, steadily rising Madina based rapper, Ayat released a single featuring his fellow Madina based artiste, M.anifest. Titled  Kudi, which literally translates to mean money, the subject matter of the song, the Madina duo submitted their contributions on the Magnom assembled instrumental. In his submission, The ‘god MC’ expressed some noteworthy concerns about the apparently pitiable state of the existing Ghanaian music industry.

“We pay for videos, we pay for studios, blowing our savings oh it hurts……

No record labels, we are the label…..

Forget your loyalties, pay me my royalties Ghana music industry is a fable….

No golden rule, those who have all the gold make all the rules”

The above highlighted lyrics are excerpts of M.anifest’s verse on the said tune.  It is apparent on the face of the lyrics above that M.anifest raised some genuine concerns about our industry. He lamented on the purportedly non-existing and ineffective structures in the industry, the resources the artistes invest into their brand which unfortunately does not yield the merited returns they must be entitled to. He also implicitly conveyed a demand to the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO), the body approved by law to undertake collective rights management for musical works, to pay him his royalties.

Further, controversial Dancehall Heavyweight, Shatta Wale has also on several occasions voiced out his lamentations on what is deemed to be the ineffectiveness of existing structures in the music industry. He recently demonstrated his passionate concern about the industry once again with a single christened Ghamro. In the song, he reiterated his demand to GHAMRO to provide him with his entitlements.

Recently, in a video Akoo Nana posted on Facebook, the artiste expressed a vehement displeasure at the existing state of the Ghanaian music industry which according to him, does not offer an enabling environment which sufficiently generate the returns that merit the artistes’ output. Akoo Nana radically called for a revolution to remedy the existing status quo.

The premises outlined above, including several others not outlined here gives an indication that generally, our artistes are apparently no longer just mere spectators but have decided to be citizens. I can see them resorting to what is expected of them to do as primary stakeholders of the music industry. There has been an intensified expression of concern about the state of the music industry. More artistes have been joining in the advocacies, activism, demands for accountability from the mandated quarters, inter alia.  Other stakeholders such as journalists, bloggers, industry persons and other concerned persons have also registered their participation in the activism.  It is commendable. I hope this commendable activism does not end up as an exercise in futility but rather, would ignite the implementation of the recommended pragmatic measures for the betterment of the industry. I would however humbly advice that the various agitations are submitted in a very decorous manner devoid of vituperations and wild unsubstantiated allegations.

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