Ghanaian musicians: Are they just bluffing?

I have been asking myself why a Ghanaian musician would brag about shooting a music video with a budget of about 100,000 US Dollars and then turn around soon after to beg the media to promote his product for him?

What is the sense in shooting an expensive video without making any plans to promote it? When you have a good product and you don’t push it, it doesn’t matter how good the product may be, it may not be patronized. Simple as that!

So musicians must take note and act accordingly and stop breaking our ear drums with the noise about the media not ready to promote Ghanaian musicians.

The other day, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs. Dzifa Gomashie made a statement during the car presentation by MUSIGA to the Artiste of the Year winners at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2013 which is still echoing in my ears.

If I may paraphrase, Madam Gomashie said that musicians are not charities, so they must be paid their dues whenever their works are used. This was in reference to how television and radio stations keep on exploiting musicians by using their works and paying them scanty royalties with some even requesting money from the musicians before airing out their works.

This was a good call since we must all eat from where we work. But perhaps unknown to the minister, she was fighting for some people who may be described as “an ungrateful bunch” of musicians. Not all musicians are ungrateful but clearly a great chunk of them are.

Generally, musicians in Ghana are very selfish and sometimes behave exactly like Ghanaian politicians. They don’t care about the people who help them to get to the top, especially when they become successful.

When new talents appear on the scene, they seem as though they cannot hurt a fly. They sound respectful and appear very innocent but wait till they rise in their careers and they turn into different people.

Even agreeing to give interviews becomes a problem. It’s like they are too busy or they feel too big because of their new status. When success sets in, human beings seem to forget where they are going and perhaps where they are coming from.

They are just like politicians. Did you see the urgency at which four (NPP, NDC, CPP and PNC) of the political parties in Ghana came together to debunk reports contained in the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer that sought to place political parties second on the list of perceived corrupt institutions in Ghana?

You see, it’s all about them and same can be said of Ghanaian musicians. In Ghana, the media is always taken advantage of.

After they have paid the appropriate fees to other professionals who work on their music, they then plead for media partnerships without paying a dime. When a media house is bold enough to ask for payment for their services, the musicians would say, “we will mention the name of your media house in our television and radio promos”, or “we are providing content to your media”.

Content? Who says all media need content to be provided for them when they can find it elsewhere? I have received calls from managers of artistes who have always bragged in the media about shooting expensive music videos and yet will call me to write a story and sometimes even attempt to dictate to me how I should go about the bla bla bla.

I sometimes blame the media too. Some of us are too gullible and jump at anything in the name of getting exclusives. In the name of exclusivity, lots of chaffs have been put out there for public consumption. In the bid to announce to the world that they got a scoop, writers often rush out with the news.

We all like to be the first to break the news of first to put out exclusives. Exclusives, yes, but the way some of us do it, makes media practitioners look stupid.

If we complain about Ghanaian musicians not paying for promotion and yet we rush to publish a story about how the musician shot a video on a ridiculously high budget, how do we expect him to pay us?

For him, we are ready to publish anything he says, so why will he pay us for that? No wonder the likes of D-Cryme think they provide content for the Ghanaian media by just saying anything. So he can tweet “Oh no, I hate this coughing” and the next day it becomes news.

Come on guys, let’s get realistic here; let’s wake up and smell the coffee. Ours is not a charity as much as the musicians are also not charity. What needs to be paid for must be paid for, especially if musicians claim that they have spent fortunes to make their music. Let’s take them for their word or are they just bluffing?

By Ebenezer Anangfio/Graphic Showbiz/Ghana

eanangfio@hotmail.com or tweet @anangfio

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