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STACY M. AMEWOYI Writes: Ghana’s Entertainment Industry Was Walking – It’s Crawling Now!

Stacy M. Amewoyi

For a couple of years that I’ve been around the media, it had run smoothly from the 90s to early 2000. Around then we hear the music of Amakye Dede, Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba and the likes that made so much sense and relatable to our everyday lives. The aforementioned renowned musicians and more took music seriously, though as pleasure but equally business. Don’t be driven by living big, it’s part of it but the other important drive is to be driven by a passion for more hits, which should always come to mind. 

Fast forward mid-2000 till now, our music has nothing to write home about. Today, this record label has done this, tomorrow an artiste is ungrateful, next morning, there is a stolen song, another is ‘beefing’ and so on and so forth. 21st-century musicians in Ghana are not making the industry attractive to investors. They lack the money for promotions onto bigger markets to compete on the international level because they don’t honour contracts after they have had their hits.

The issue of ungratefulness from artistes to managers and managers to artistes are unimaginable. No matter the fracas, an artiste should come to the acknowledgement of what has been done for him and not run off the label over a short misunderstanding. This usually happens when a label has gone through the scratch of helping this artiste through bloggers, high school and university tours, interviews and streaming without a contract.

If you want to sign an artiste now, it should be on paper with lawyers involved. This will help bind the artiste to a label and pay an estimated amount if he was to breach the contract by walking away.

The mediocrity of no contracts signed should be brushed off our lips as it makes a mockery of us. The signing of contracts is not wickedness or friendliness it is business. You help me, I help you. Outside Ghana, no artiste can walk off a record label, without going through a needed process; and note, no ungrateful artiste reaches a higher height. Signing an artist and pushing him takes a lot, which when done anyhow poses doom for the artiste.

Some record labels have also imprisoned very good artistes and are binding them till the end of their contracts yet doing nothing for them. Their awareness of the fact that the artiste can’t pay their release clause becomes an advantage to sit on their stardom even when another label wants to invest in them. The problem here in Ghana is this; we treat the music business as a hobby, not a business. It is an expensive venture, but those involved shun the fact that its entertainment cum business.  Why won’t we be where we are?

Ghanaian artistes are very good but lack the ability to see the bigger picture hence the snub at the BET Awards 2020. The music industry lacks the structure and blueprints to make new artistes blow and stay afloat for a longer period of time.

No Ghanaian artiste has been nominated for the BET Awards this year and it’s quite a shame; not even the big names. Why are countries like DR Congo and Zimbabwe nominated? Because they are doing something a little sensible termed as seriousness whilst we are here behaving as champions meanwhile parading ourselves as jokers to the world’s view.

Haven’t we worked hard enough? Or we don’t know the process or seem less interested? Someone will ask; but why are we always aiming at BET, can’t we focus on our own awards?  Which other Awards scheme are artistes looking at aside what is here? If an artiste’s aim is to only win locally, then we have a long way to go.

Buying an Elantra, getting an apartment at Achimota, with three Legon girls on rotation, after your first hit, is no guarantee to disrespect your record label or beef other artists; it’s a typical local champion mentality.

The music business is expensive now, and investors are really needed to push the country forward as it’s done in other countries. But with what we are showcasing, who will be willing to invest? Try new beats, search for features and work harder for another banger that is how you stay on top.

Checking the sense of reasoning of an artiste before signing a contract is very laudable today. There should be an understanding that a lot of money can be gathered in a year, but the following year, not a single show could be played.

It could be that the fans in the previous year enjoyed your songs but that joy from that year couldn’t continue. It only means it is up to you to work harder and not blame your label for being lazy. The mindset of record labels should also be known. At least as a label, it should be included in the contract that, in three to four years, as our artiste, we should be able to promote you up to this level, depending on the hard work of the artiste.

If the label is not able to do that, it should equally appear in a clause that, they will pay this amount of money and release the artiste to another label. So not to sign them and sit on their shine.

 The industry in Ghana has no understanding of the business at all, that is why talents are being killed, and those who become ungrateful, kill themselves.  The needed work must be done because that is what pay the bills. An artist is allowed to have fun but in doing that, don’t let go of the hard work. Hard work really pays, if we are able to heed to this with more seriousness, investors will flood in and our Ghanaian artistes wouldn’t only be found on nomination lists but will be performing alongside the big names around the world.

What about our movie industry? Has it collapsed, relapsed or escaped the scene? During the Ghana month in March, TV stations gave the country a feeling to watch good movies from our own folks from the 90s.

But it appears it’s going the same terrain as the music industry. At first, it was poetry recitals and witchcraft, which we wouldn’t have bothered if it still kept people glued to their television sets.

What we are seeing now is the real practice of witchcraft as some Kumawood actors are dragging fellow actors to fetish priests for fame and money. Ghallywood actors are all slaying, having expensive accessories and posing by fancy cars yet have nothing in their pockets.

Let a director or producer call them for production, that is where they will include all their fake luxury costs like charges for scenes to be played. You won’t be harmed as an actor with no car or the latest phone. Nobody will take off your Instagram page if you don’t wear borrowed clothes and pose by cars.

If actors have realized, living a normal life increases their life span as they enjoy total peace and serenity. But if you carve a certain lifestyle for yourself as an actor, you will surely live a lie life. Humility plays a major role in every entertainment industry, and if an artist or actor lose it, the floor will always be their limit. 

Both the music and movie industry have no plans of entertaining the masses, then let’s take look at sports. Or you say this one, over the bar? From men’s football to athletics no tangible trophy has been won yet taxpayers money keeps rolling into their pockets.

As for NPP and NDC, their story is for another day. So what at all is Ghana proud of; production, culture, slay queening, slanging or you say boxing?

Please, stakeholders and players in these three domains, music, movies and sports, Ghanaians miss the good old days, we are better advanced than they were, let’s not sit on the fence, Ghana is still ours, let’s make it happen.

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