A Letter to MUSIGA President

Obour

Obour, MUSIGA President

Dear President Obour, It is over two years now since musicians in the country entrusted their affairs and destiny into your hands in recognition of your AJUMAPA policy outlined during the Musicians Union of Ghana(MUSIGA) Congress in faraway Tamale.

I was present at the celebration of the two years anniversary of your administration which was under the theme Still Pursuing The Rebranding Agenda – Creating Wealth for Musicians, and I have no doubt in my mind that you and your executives are working tirelessly to elevate musicians in Ghana from their current circumstance to a better situation. Bravo!

Since ascending the MUSIGA ‘throne’, you have done a lot in areas such as growing the Union’s membership. You said at your last press interaction that the membership of MUSIGA has grown to include about 1,000 new members. It has been months now which means the numbers have increased considerably.

Quite recently, I met a few musicians who still believe that the MUSIGA was not promoting their well-being, hence their boycott of the Union. But that will be for another discussion.

Concerning the matter of peace which we all need, the Union and indeed your administration must be commended for the pivotal role played during the run up to the general elections in 2012. Musical works that the Union came up with drummed home to electorates the need to solidify and protect the peace the country was enjoying. That was also good!

Some of us are still waiting to read about the research which was done by KPMG concerning areas of the music industry which needs strengthening in order to bring improvement into the lives of musicians.

Interestingly, some of your critics are of the view that the research was a misplaced priority because to them, your predecessors, Alhaji Sidiku Buari and Diana Hopeson were involved in similar researches and the outcome of which has not been felt and recommendations ignored. What was the basis for this new research by you? They are asking.

Last Wednesday, there was an eruption on microblogging site, Twitter which had everyone talking.  Mind you, Mr President, Twitter is a platform that most people including various known personalities vent their spleen on whatever it is that is worrying them. People pour out their frustrations and sometimes too worthless material as well.

To be precise, two of Ghana’s finest rappers, Sarkodie and Asem who have considerable following on Twitter, used the social media platform to descend heavily on some people who parade themselves as event organisers and take Ghanaian artistes for granted.

As a musician yourself, you must be aware that the Ghanaian musician is always treated badly as against foreign counterpart musicians. You would not be too surprised at your colleagues for releasing their frustrations in the manner they did. Sometimes, when you are pushed against the wall, the only way out is to fight back.

It’s appalling that event organisers must feel that they are smarter when it comes to promoting events. Because of the scarcity of money, it is now difficult to have people patronise events. However, there are event organisers who are trying so hard to do the right thing, while others have devised very crude ways of getting promotion of their events free of charge.

You are currently aware of the practice by which some event organisers deceive the public to attend their shows. They do so by using names and images of some known musicians on posters and in radio and television advertisements, when in actual fact, the artistes have not been approached.

Sometimes, even though the organisers of such events might only be in consultation with the management of the artiste, they go out to do promos and advertisements when a deal has not been sealed.

Mr. President, it takes a bold artist to show his or her dislike at what is going on, like the two artistes have done. They who have taken such event organisers to the cleaners.

From my understanding, Sarkodie’s tweets were directed at the organisers of the Guinness Big Eruption Concert, which is scheduled to take place at the Accra Sports Stadium on November 23.

You can’t blame the young man, his name and image is on the poster for the event, yet according to him, no concrete deal has been reached between himself and the organisers who as it were are playing smart. One of his tweets reads  jst cos u cudnt meet ma fee n u still need ma fanbase u print posters with ma face on.

Sarkodie continued: When we called them they said they don’t know who printed now they printed new one without ma face… but still first one is on sites….

Asem’s case is very different from Sarkodie’s. Asem had received part payment of GHC2,000 from the organisers of the Tamale Rocks concert which took place on November 1 at the Tamale Sports Stadium. From his tweets, the organisers didn’t honour their part of the bargain as they did not pay him the remaining amount of GHC3,000 before the show.

Read his initial tweets: The level of unprofessionalism exhibited by some event org/promoters in this country is disgracefully shameful. Do you guys remember the show in Tamale I couldn’t go last week told yall about ?

Though the organisers of the Tamale Rocks show have refuted Asem’s claims and Twitter ranting, it would be appropriate and in the interest of all Ghanaian musicians for MUSIGA to intervene  and address this unfortunate trend.

I am not backing the musicians or pronouncing the event organisers guilty of the above anomaly, but the intervention of the Union I believe will give hope to the musicians who at this stage of the development of the Union feel there is no need to join an association that cannot fight on behalf of its members.

You have constantly spoken about job creation, unity in the industry as well as rebranding MUSIGA. All will come to nothing if things like these are not meaningfully tackled.

By Ebenezer Anangfio – @anangfio

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