VODAFONE GHANA MUSIC AWARDS

It is no secret that the Ghanaian music industry is crumbling faster and a bit more dangerously than a certain World Trade Centre. Blame it on our artistes and you probably would not be too far from right, blame it on the media and other stakeholders and you are still righter than wrong!

Everything about the Industry is a chronic, a complete embarrassment and a big shame; a big shame that we could not hold on to the promise of the golden generation of more than a decade ago, a big shame that an industry with as much talent as others across the continent stutters in the dark, and a big shame that most of the entertainers that raised eyebrows initially have ended up more clueless than Johnny Bravo, at least on a musical perspective.

But come to think of it, it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise considering that this great country of ours has a dark reputation of taking things for granted, at least since after independence. Not to drift away from entertainment, I feel the need to remind us as a nation our failures at incubating the golden eggs that once upon a time was the envy of other nations.

I am talking of golden eggs such as the ‘pride’ of National Development and Sports just to mention two out of a possible thousand, and in all sincerity the only thing this nation boasts of currently to a considerable degree is National Peace- Funny, isn’t it?!

It hurts to know that we could even loose that considering our discouraging record at holding close our best cards, and mind you I am no prophet of doom. I am just highlighting our often concealed joy in bullying industry and pampering our luck; which is to say we rely more on fortune than hard work in every area of our lives, be it politics, football, agriculture, technology, business and trade- or MUSIC.

Perhaps it is fair to say then that LUCK, good luck, brings us so far and LACK drives us over the cliff. Note the replacement of the first vowel for the last; not much alteration but so much different in how they influence any story.

There is only one image of positive luck, but several forms of a lack of an element in any noun, especially man. A lack of just one element is enough to ruin a kingdom, a marriage and the music industry. But when the Ghanaian music is deficient from FIVE elements, then it ceases to be an industry; perhaps a music circus is a rather more appropriate word.

And since the Ghanaian music industry has either played blind to the visible deficiencies or deaf- mute to the audible ones. All the curious and wondering minds here have an insight into the 5 lacks of the Ghana Music Industry for possibly the first time!

1)         THE LACK OF A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY

 This new generation of Ghanaian music acts were either born without a lack of responsibility or lost it at birth. I guess that explains the chaos, unpardonable actions or inactions and moral deficiency in today’s artistes.

Guru gets on a song and preaches nonsense, Sarkodie now cusses and swears more than he hits a punch line and some others either flirt with groupies or defile them. And somehow these ‘achievements’ summarize the current industry. Save a few worthy faces and it is fair to say our musical icons are ignorant of their duties as mentors and role models, hence the absolute rubbish we now have to accept as posh goods.

Artistes also prove to lack value over here these days. It is totally unacceptable the lack of branding and evaluation of priorities, which in all honesty has made our artistes starved than stars. When you become a successful artiste it is important to start feeling like a celebrity and know the Do’s and Don’ts. It is a no-thinker the challenges you encounter for the sacrifices you need to make. No excuses. It comes with the job!

You can’t imagine D’ Banj hanging around at the Nkrumah Circle equivalent of Nigeria or K’Naan stalking average girls at Somalia’s version of Mighty Beach! But how come our stars do it all the time. They are so narrow-minded they narrow their own stardom with their actions.

For example how many times does the conceited Papi Chulo of 5Five music group dress like crap to the Jokers Nite Club to stalk women? Why does VIP’s Prodigal have to play soccer all sweaty behind the old Christian Methodist School with a bunch of hungry neighborhood guys and look like one? Isn’t Tinny that celebrity that got sand-bathed and dirty as any other vagabond on the day there were at least a 1000 observers at the Labadi Beach?

And yet the media overlooks the bigger stories; the real ones that could transform the mentality of the industry and shape things for the better. For that is media responsibility, and as much as everyone knows the truth it goes without a mention, either because the media is too close to our celebrities to criticize them or perhaps been corrupted with legal tender.It must be either one of these two reasons; otherwise why on earth would no-one talk about D-Cryme’s hapless performance at the 020 Concert and many other appalling stagecrafts that seem to characterize our events. How do you expect these artistes to sit-up and step up their game if you don’t criticize?

Isn’t the media responsible for putting event organizers in their right place, so why do they get away with those ridiculously amateur event organizations? Isn’t it a media responsibility to suggest the construction of more and better venues other than the over-reliance on the relatively old-school entertainment venues of National Theatre and the Dome of the Conference Centre, and oh need I mention the embarrassing option of the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium? That reminds me the use of the Prempeh Assembly Hall as venue for the biggest shows in the Ashanti Region, as an alternative to the capital.

In this case a total lack of responsibility on the part of the authorities and media affecting the development of local entertainment to compete with the rest of the continent and challenge our artistes and event organizers to work harder to draw more crowd.

2)         A COMPREHENSIVE LACK OF VALUES

 It kills me to mention this, honestly, considering the amount of talent available in an industry said to be a sleeping giant of Entertainment on the continent.

The fact that our own demise is caused by our refusal to just do the simple things right, copy or learn from other successful industries and once again prioritize our values hit me hard. It shocks me as the first-ever obituary self-written.

Take for example our artistes and their naïve ambition to seduce fame at all cost. That totally explains why artistes consistently release those nauseous singles after every one-hit wonder just to sustain their popularity-albeit usually in vain. It also is the cause of our stars’ lust at taking every stage on everyday of the week, regardless if it’s a common High School entertainment show!

Probably it could be for the money, because records don’t sell here anymore. The only means of generating a bit of revenue in this industry these days is either through shows or endorsements. But of course, Save the very unfortunate issue of piracy, I wonder how many artistes actually expect the public to purchase those worthless albums of 10 tracks…one hit song and 9 other bull****!

For heaven’s sake no one makes records here anymore; for the reason you call them RECORDS is the fact that they (albums) contain enough content to pass for historical pieces-. That kind of records scarce-d out in the industry a decade ago, and almost totally more than half a decade ago.

And why is that so?? It is an obvious factor of a comprehensive absence of values, ensuring that artistes hasten up to complete their projects so as to circulate mainstream and maintain their popularity. But why chase fame when you could overtake legendary? Why aspire for success while you could strive for excellence?

You hear news like Sarkodie touring the USA and discover that he is actually performing on a Basketball court over there at a show that costs a paltry $15 per ticket while P-Square performs for ten times the cost of Sarkodie ticket prices at a venue that has hosted guests including Craig David, Shakira and other world class entertainers. What is wrong with branding over here? Everything…or anything?

The least said about values the better. No need talking about Music of Nigerian Influence, the conspicuous absence of our cultural values in our music these days, artistes taking 5- years’ music break for holidaying in the states.

Perhaps I should keep mute on artistes underrating the importance of labels and managing themselves even with no skill-set to their disadvantage, penniless artistes signing other artistes to personal labels, a corrupt media and greedy stakeholders….including Music authorities, record labels, event organizers and even pirate bootleggers!

WATCH OUT THE PART 2 OF THIS FEATURE WHERE THE LAST 3 LACKS WILL BE DULY ADRESSED.

Credit: Nii Kotey, edited by Ghana Cypher

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