The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Speech Production, a music production outfit based in Tema, Enock Agyepong, has declared that Ghanaian musicians have every legal right to know the total amount of money collected on their behalf by those who call themselves industry managers.
According to him, the musicians also had the right to know the criteria used by the managers in the distribution of royalties to them, adding that the royalties should be made public.
Speaking to BEATWAVES in an interview at the Ave Maria Hotel in Tema last Saturday, he noted that some stakeholders in the music industry were taking what rightfully belonged to the musicians.
“My brother, music in Ghana is sick. There is massive corruption in the industry which has contributed to the suffering of musicians. Things must change as soon as possible,” he said.
He called on all Ghanaian musicians to come together and work as a team to build a solid foundation for the industry and also fight the increasing spate of corruption in the industry.
He stressed that a few weeks ago, Ohene Media headed by Abraham Ohene Djan, distributed YouTube royalties to Ghanaian musicians without telling them the total amount collected from Google.
Reacting to a statement issued by Ohene Media (OM) that certain elements in the music industry seemed to have an issue with his partnership with YouTube, Enock Agyepong said as long as things were not done the right way, people like him would not keep their mouths shut.
The statement from Ohene Media hinted that negative stories about OM emerged from some quarters only when “we make an effort to publicize and promote our online channel and channel management platform. We believe this is a malicious effort to not only tarnish our name, but also to undermine the project, which many artistes are benefiting from. We believe this is an effort from some quarters that do not want creative content owners to become aware that their content is generating revenue online”.
But the CEO of Speech Productions was of the view that the right owners needed to know how much OM was being paid for uploading music videos of Ghanaian artistes on YouTube.
He said Abraham Ohene Djan should come out and tell Ghanaians how much he had so far collected on behalf of the rightful owners and how much he paid every musician because the issue was creating some misunderstanding among the stakeholders.
He said since Ghanaian musicians had worked tirelessly to build a vibrant music industry for the country, it was their duty to make sure that things were done right.
Part of the OM press statement said that OM had to do bulk uploads and not all the artistes with content on its television channel could be contacted in time, and the efforts in contacting the artistes had started in earnest and was still ongoing.
“We would like to offer our apologies to any artiste whose content is on our platform, who hasn’t been contacted yet. And we are making all efforts to streamline all content on our platform either through artiste contacting us, or vice-versa. We encourage any artiste with any inquiries to contact us”.
But Enock Agyepong declared that Ohene Media had no right to monetize works that didn’t belong to it without a prior contract and that even Google should be sued for ‘giving such power’ to Ohene Media.
He stressed that OM should have contacted the musicians before uploading their videos on YouTube. “OM cannot upload the music video on YouTube before getting in touch with the musicians,” he added.
He was unhappy that the article painted Ohene Media as the only establishment that could monetize videos for Ghanaian musicians, saying that his artiste belonged to a different platform and that there were many other platforms. He urged Ghanaian musicians to tell Ohene Media to stop monetizing their works without their consent.
He declared that he and a few others would not sit unconcerned while a handful of stakeholders destroy the music industry.
He stressed that since they had contributed towards the progress of the Ghanaian music industry, it was their duty to check those who wanted to amass wealth at the expense of the poor musicians.
By George Clifford Owusu