obour’s speech @ MUSIGA stakeholders forum

Written by on 01/16/2013

Mr. Chairman, Honorable Akua Sena Dansoa – Minister for Tourism, Distinguished guests, Representatives of KPMG, Members of the Oversight and Technical committees, Music industry practitioners, Members of the Press, Fellow musician.

Let me begin by wishing each and every one of you here a happy new year. I foresee a lot of prospects for all especially the music industry practitioners in this and the coming years.

For the first time in the history of this country we have commenced a comprehensive study of the music sector to provide data and information that will inform appropriate, suitable and evidence based policy making and possible investment to drive the sector. We have invited you here this morning to share in details the role we as practitioners and stakeholders can play in ensuring that the possibilities that lie ahead can be harnessed within the shortest possible time through this research project.

A Month ago we had the opportunity to address the media on some of the key objectives of this research project and what we should all be expecting as the days pass by.

Today I am happy to see a broader section of the music industry responding to our invitation for dialogue and knowledge sharing, all with the single aim of ensuring that we grow the music sector in a sustainable manner.

Over the years many of us have complained about the lack of direct government support and investment into the music sector. Unlike sports where we witness on a regular basis government’s huge and regular investments and provision of infrastructure among other things across the country, One cannot mention a single performance venue purposefully built for music in the country.

We pay for our music to be played on radio & TV instead of being paid for the use of our music on these stations. We receive next to nothing as royalties for the use of our creative works. Piracy is killing our creativity, access to funding for productions and marketing are limited and restricted.

There is no institutional structure that trains and feeds music industry practitioners in this country. The challenges are myriad.

We need solutions to these numerous industry challenges. They continue to exist because there is no data to prove the immense benefits we will get if such challenges are addressed.

In the past we have sought to find solutions through the art of complaining which has never worked effectively, because even when someone decides to help, the individual or organization is saddled with where to begin from. Specific policies and data are limited or nonexistent.

We can stop complaining and start living on our music if we establish a scientific tool we can use to advocate dialogue or negotiate for fair and realistic wages from our employers and equally engage users of our works to pay for their usage.

One may ask:
• Why are foreign musicians paid sometimes ten times more than what is paid to the local counterpart?
• Why are we paying radio & television stations for playing our music instead of they paying us? Our music is a raw material for their work. Hotels, restaurants, Internet and social medial platforms, telecommunication operators, commercial vehicles, airlines and shipping lines continue to use our music to promote their businesses, yet many of them fail to pay the appropriate fee for the use of our music.

If we can establish the economic contribution our sector makes to the national economy, we shall get the appropriate legislations and its enforcement to benefit and impact directly on the creators of music.

This research which is under the theme: Revitalizing the Creative Art Industry: The Contribution of the Music Sector to the Socio –economic development of Ghana” is to help in finding the requisite solutions to music industry needs.

At the end of this project the survey will among other things:

• Create visibility of the music sector, giving it a higher political and strategically priority;
• Gather information necessary to develop a coherent strategy for the music sector
• Provide baseline data that can be used to inform evidence based policy making.
• Use the outcome as an advocacy tool to drive and direct investment into the music sector.
• Use the outcome of the study to prepare a four year medium term strategic plan to guide the development of the Ghanaian Music Industry.

At this juncture I will like to plead for the cooperation of everybody in the sector. Contributions and ideas are welcome from all stakeholders. All persons who have any information about existing studies or existing sources of information, even small ones are all invited to share with the Union.

Let me state here that KPMG (our research consultant) will be consulting most of you during the process, and information given will be treated in confidence therefore no one should feel threatened to share or disclose information to the field workers that may visit you later at your work places.

KPMG will give us further details on the entire project and what we need to contribute to make it a success for the good of all.

Finally, I would like to thank the Government of Ghana, Dr. Kofi Amoah, The British Council, Hisense Electronics, The World Bank and all of you here for your support and trust in the Union.

Although we have come afar, we still need the support and corporation of all.

May the good lord bless us all. Thanks you.

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