Recent happenings in the music industry has in a way forced me to write this piece even though the idea has been with me for a long time.

Ghana music obviously we can say has grown and reached a much appreciable level. Artistes now do music that crosses the borders of this country, they are driving better cars (even if it?s home use?lol), and living in modest and decent homes.

So what are these recent happenings which have triggered this article? Sarkodie went crazy and spoke his mind concerning how a show promoter has treated him simply because he asked for a dressing room. In another development, Asem also used social media site, Twitter to vent his spleen on another show promoter who refused to honor his part of their agreement leading to him (Asem) not being able to honor the performance.

As much as they are saying the right thing, I feel it has come a bit too late and done wrongly.

Ghanaian artistes for a long time have sold themselves short, they have not made the public and those in the entertainment industry to take them serious. Artistes play shows without getting their money but the next time the same organiser contacts them, they are on the stage again performing. How do you expect someone like this to respect you?

This is an industry where one artiste refuses to play a gig because the pay cheque is small and another artiste takes the job for even a much smaller fee. Artistes are constantly sabotaging each other to make shows.

The professional aspect of the whole showbiz thing has been left to the gutters and every artiste does his/her own thing. They are their own Managers, Promoters, Publicists, Marketers etc. I don?t know whether this is because of financial constraint or just the lack of the knowledge or just plain greed.

But if we?re to go by the fact that artistes as big as OK, Sarkodie, Asem, Obrafuo, Samini etc are constantly doing their own PR and Managerial stuff, then I?m tempted to say that our artistes are just plain greedy, they want to spend their money all by themselves.

It will have been better if Asem and Sarkodie?s issue have been addressed by their Managers or Publicists. These guys could have articulated the issue much better than the artiste ?cos? thats their job.

I don?t see our artistes to be serious, they themselves do not see their act as a profession for someone else to see them as such. Many a time have I asked why Ghanaian artistes travel abroad for shows by themselves without anybody. Foreign artistes come to this country with entourages which can range from managers, bandsmen, DJ?s, Hype men, dancers and even family, yet when our people are going out for shows, they go alone or with just one person.

Even our Naija brothers come here with entourages and these people are all taken care of during the negotiation stage of the deal. I don?t think they bring them here and pay their hotel bills and stuff, no. So why can?t our artistes insist on these things but rather accept whatever the organizer throws their way. Is it because they are so desperate for money and fame so will do everything for those few dollar bills?

They must know that whatever you start, it is very difficult to change the status quo after a long time. Hiplife is over 10 years and this practice has gone on for all this while.

It is sad to hear an artiste say that we agreed on ?x? amount, he was supposed to pay ?y? amount and pay the remaining at so so and so time. What I want to ask is this, what happened to that paper with the dotted line at the bottom called CONTRACT?

I don?t even think a Ghanaian artiste has signed a show contract before. They don?t even have lawyers. To break it down, this is what a show contract does, it specifies exactly what the two parties expect from each other. The demands of the artiste, the fee agreed on, the mode of payment, how it?s going to be done. If it?s in installments, when and how each amount will be paid.

It also states what the organiser expects from the artiste, the time of arrival, interviews (if any), sound check time and time to arrive at the venue on the day of performance etc.

It also contains clauses which defines what a breach of the contract will entail and what happens after a party to the contract has breached the contract. This is read and re-read by lawyers for both parties before it is signed. Once signed, it?s binding on both parties.

If any of this is done, I don?t see the case where an artiste will play a show and then be chasing the promoter for his money.

You see a show poster with several artistes who might not even be on the show, our artistes see this yet do nothing, how then do you expect the promoter to take you serious. I don?t think a show promoter in the U.S will use Jay Z?s picture to advertise and promote an event without contacting Jay Z.

Jay Z on the other hand once he sees this, will quickly set his legal team on the promoter because when the show comes on and Jay Z doesn?t show, the fans can sue him and the show organisers for deception.

How many Ghanaian artiste have their own DJ?s, they attend shows with CD?s of their songs which are just exactly what the fans have in their homes for the DJ on duty to play for them. Do you call this a live performance? We must as well just blast your CD in our homes and dance.

The role of your DJ is simple, the two of you can practice how you want the songs to play, he can play the instrumentation and mix it with the vocals when it comes to the chorus or certain portions of the song to spice up the performance.

It also gives you enough time to rehearse and understand the songs together which will translate to a better performance than what a show DJ can do and it also eliminates the infamous, ?DJ track 2, track 1? thing.

Our nigerian brothers are making fortunes out of music. They buy very expensive brand new cars and live in what we?ll call palaces. Look at Squareville, how many Ghanaian artistes can boast of a quarter of that??? What are they doing right, these are the things I?ll rather our artistes started talking about.

It?s time our artistes saw this as the profession that it is and began taking it serious. Nobody will take you serious if you do not show seriousness.

A word to the wise is enough.


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