Daddy Bosco writes about Reality Shows

MTN-HitmakerOn Friday, the second edition of the MTN Hit-Maker show takes place and a winner will be declared to join the constellation of stars in Ghana.

The winner is expected to be an artiste who is good to go having undergone grooming by industry luminaries such as ace keyboardist and 2nd Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bessa Simons, vintage songstress Ofie Kudjo and avant-garde engineer Zapp Mallet.

As you are all aware, reality shows are the vogue these days. From entertainment to education worldwide, reality shows are the order of the day.
We have reality shows for musicians and actors and lately, the British Council is sponsoring The Challenge, a reality show that is to reward enterprising students with the ultimate prize of a study programme in the United Kingdom.
Memory lane of Reality Shows
Reality shows started about a decade ago with the likes of Mentor, Bands Alive and Ghana’s Most Beautiful by TV3, Kasahari on Adom FM, Stars of the Future by Charter House, MTN Hit-Maker, Glo X Factor, Appietus Idol and Vodafone Icons.

A quick look at some of the products of these reality shows will give an indication as to the impact this phenomenon is making.

Artistes like Sarkodie who was mentioned in the Forbes Magazine as one of Africa’s Top 10 Most Bankable celebrities graduated from Adom FM’s Kasahari show, a rap battle contest; Efya who has won Best Singer awards consistently along with Irene Logan, Kesse and Bertha are all from Stars of the Future; Bessa Simons of Osibisa fame picked his band from Bands Alive on TV3. Other stars in Ghana who are products of reality shows include Rana and Praye from the Nescafe African Revolution.

These reality shows provide coaches and mentors for these budding talents thereby instilling in them the essential music lessons required to navigate a career in music. The training the reality shows provide is invaluable in helping these aspiring musicians to hone their skills and develop their art.

Currently, music is not taught in basic tertiary schools so there are many artistes who lack the rudiments of music and if they don’t get it in the churches, mosques or religious places of worship then you can imagine the rest…and that’s precisely why I applaud the efforts of reality show organizers in grooming talent for the industry.

Let’s share some lessons on reality shows which I believe runs across the various reality shows be it Glo X Factor, MTN Hit-Maker or Stars of the Future.

The need for proper musical training for our talents, e.g. reintroduction of music into curricula of basic schools because you realize apart from their raw talent, the contestants usually have no knowledge about the basics of music.

Effective grooming and handling of talent, i.e. need for effective artiste management. Without effective artiste management to package the artistes, their talent may go nowhere.

Expectations of the Reality Shows
One expects that the reality shows will continue to produce top quality artistes who will rise up and join the ranks of celebrated personalities with a good understanding of show business and an ability to export their trade globally.

On the part of organizers, one expects a situation where the winners or top finalists are mentored beyond participating in the contest and actually guided in their careers.

The 2nd Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) Bessa Simons who has been a judge and technical director on a number of the reality shows notes that currently most of the young bands on the scene are products of TV3’s Bands Alive. He expects “the current crop of MTN Hit-Makers to be original. We have produced some amazing chaps with great original music and we expect them to help change the local music scene with their fresh original tunes.”

Bessa also expects all proceeds from the project to help build the industry and develop a civil society presence that will make people know they have to pay for the works of artistes.

“The proceeds from these projects should go to educating the radio and TV stations and other commercial users of music to appreciate that they need to pay for music they use. It should also be used to help GHAMRO become an international copyright management organization worth its salt. This means that Charter House, Farmhouse and all the reality show organizers should contribute to that effect.

“This is to also ensure that at the end of the day, the young ones do not end up like some of our forefathers.”

The responsibility of these reality show organizers is huge and beyond their financial benefits, I reckon they need to look at the long term development of the artistes.

In the meantime, some of the challenges facing the industry require fixing to enable these young ones to have the best of their careers.

Challenges facing the Music Industry
The challenges confronting the industry in Ghana may not be too different from what obtains anywhere in the world.

These can range from a lack of enforcement of Copyright laws with rampant piracy in both hard copies like C.Ds and soft copies with pirates using laptops and downloading music onto mobile phones and other devices.

Lack of policies and support for the development of the industry, e.g. tax rebates for investors in the sector, grants and funding for the industry.

Absence of effective structures for the regulation of the industry, e.g. Intellectual Property (I.P) rights regulating authority.

The good news is that the current government with the formation of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts is showing tremendous goodwill to the industry with the injection of some funds into the Creative Industries.

The way forward can, therefore, be described as pretty simple. There’s the need for effective structures and regulating authorities to ensure the development of the industry to optimize the potentials available.

There’s also the need for rigorous self-development on the part of industry practitioners coupled with investment in infrastructure in the industry, e.g. recording facilities, performance venues and other aspects of the industry.

Without a doubt, the future of our industry is bright and one can only say welcome to the MTN Hit-Maker. Ayekoo!

Editor’s Note: The author, Ahuma ‘Daddy Bosco’ Ocansey, is a Chartered Marketer and trained journalist. He has an illustrious background in Ghana’s entertainment industry and is currently the Administrator of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA). Email:, twitter@africandaddy, skype@africandaddy. +233 243-382-474

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