Music has never been for fun only. That’s why we call it ‘Music Business’ and that is one good reason I don’t render services for musicians for free. It is business and its has rules!
In Music Business, commercial success is the ultimate. Every musician in Ghana definitely wants a break through. It could be a single record or an album. There are few things I know musicians in Ghana are aware of but deliberately relegate to the background and still expect to be talk of the town. How you package yourself will determine how long you will be relevant in the music industry.
I have paid attention to some of our musicians speak on both radio and television and it feels terrible. Most of them find it difficult to express themselves. Expressing one’s self is a big deal. If you know how to express yourself publicly, you can communicate well even with gestures. Some musicians are just refusing to learn the English language and those who mostly grant interviews in any of the local languages also face a lot of problems. The truth is that English is the official language of Ghana and it is expedient that any inhabitant or citizen of Ghana learns it to enable them communicate with ease.
The next point is that musicians in Ghana have no respect for those who promote their music and brand – from radio presenters, disc jockeys, promoters, bloggers etc. They treat them like their services are ancillary. Meanwhile, these people are the life of the craft. Aside the fact that the promoters need the musician’s songs and video as content, the musicians also need those platforms to reach out to their fans and potential fans. Just like any other business there is the need to keep strong business tide that binds both sides.
Good looks and distinguished identity will bring in endorsement deals too. Don’t forget that too.
In this era where sales of compact discs has drastically gone down, free downloads and striving for a hit song has become the order of the day. But the cash flows more from the stage. Some of our musicians have good songs yet they have appalling stage craft. You will lose interest in their brand after watching some of them perform.
I’ve spent time with some artiste backstage during major events in Ghana and the atmosphere has always not been nice. Besides, our musicians hardly spend time trying to link up with other acts beyond their jurisdiction. It is necessary – not just for collaboration but to share ideas. Music is a global trade. If we really want to go beyond our immediate boundaries, then we need to network with other acts elsewhere.
Ghanaian musicians are making money. To some extent, yes, they are not lacking. We always see them riding in luxurious automobiles, great mansions, beautiful ‘chicks’ and better clothes that cost thousands of Ghana cedis. So why can’t they employ the services of a Public Relations experts or publicists? Not every blogger is a public relations expert. You need a publicist to communicate to the public on your behalf and also network with all the media outlets that matters on your behalf. These are professionals you can hire to execute a deal. Most musicians take good initiatives that the public don’t know about. Others have their image tarnished because there was nobody to do the damage control.
Recently a Ghanaian blog released a list of Ghanaian artistes who are very interactive on the social media. It looks good but more can be done. Most artistes just don’t know how to get interactive with the fans.
One thing you should not forget is that the social media administrator cannot do all. You frequently need to track your fan base to know where to push in a lot of energy. Musicians and their management should stop treating these partners like their effort is an option. They play instrumental roles in their career development and success.
Let’s do the best we can so the music craft will gain massive recognition and patronage both in Ghana and on the international market. It doesn’t come on a silver platter.