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Musicians, industry players urged to embrace digital music space

By: Suad Yakubu
Mr Guido Sopiimeh

The Acting Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Ghana, Mr Guido Sopiimeh has called on musicians and all other music industry stakeholders to tap into the opportunities of selling music digitally.
Mr Sopiimeh said the music industry had seen tremendous evolution and it was ,therefore, expedient to experiment the new digital wave to improve Ghana’s music industry.
He made this known in his address at the maiden edition of the MTN Digital Music Conference in Accra on January 17.
“It is critical to utilise the convenience that digital music provides. Let us work hand in hand in harnessing the benefits of digital technology to transform lives and help leap frog the fortunes of Ghana’s music industry,” Mr Sopiimeh said.

The music conference, which brought together movers and shakers in the digital music streaming space in Ghana and across Africa, members of the Musicians’ Association of Ghana (MUSIGA), members of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), the Upcoming Artistes’ Association of Ghana (UAAG) and other music industry players, was aimed at providing a platform for players in the music industry to study, understand and access the opportunities in the emerging markets around the world.
According to Mr Sopiimeh, the conference was also to create awareness of digital channels for musicians, producers and the music industry which would help make informed decisions, as well as  to bring resource persons in the digital space to guide music makers in Ghana on how they could fully take advantage of the digital space.
The theme for the conference was ,”The music industry and adapting to emerging global technology opportunities and challenges.”

Digital music streaming the new gold mine
The Managing Director of Content Connect, Munya Chanetsa affirmed that digital music streaming was one of the most effective ways of reaping revenue in music.     
According to Mr Chanetsa, statistics from the Buzz Angle end of year report in 2018 showed that a total of over 500 billion music streams were collated worldwide, compared to the 300 billion recorded in 2017.

Mr Chanetsa also touched on the setbacks associated with digital music streaming.
The entertainment mogul cited inadequate local content, payment gateway restrictions and data as the main challenges of music streaming in Africa.
In view of these, he encouraged industry players to increase music content on the various streaming platforms, notably Aftown, Apple Music Spotify, Boomplay and Tidal.
He also observed that the payment systems adopted by most of these digital platforms were not designed to favour the African continent and called for a less flexible system.
He lauded the Mobile Money (MoMo) initiative and encouraged its usage on the digital platforms, as in the case of Aftown, which is more African-based.
Another major challenge peculiar to Africa, he said, was exorbitant data charges and ,therefore, urged telecommunication companies to work towards the realisation of moderate cost of data

Free music downloads
Online marketer for Rufftown Records and AMG Records, all in Ghana, Alexander Fiifi Abaka challenged the media, especially bloggers to discourage the free music download option.
 According to him, subjecting music contents to free download does not augur well for authors of music.
He said downloads do not translate into revenue for musicians and must not be condoned in the music business. 

Music blogging
Publicist, blogger and talents manager, Fiifi Adinkra Cudjoe for his part admonished musicians to desist from sending their songs in mp3 formats to bloggers and publicists.
Rather, he urged them to subscribe and share digital links to the streaming platforms for publishing on music blogs.
Another publicist, blogger and digital content manager, Jonathan Nii Laryea, also added that with the increasing usage of smartphones and other computing devices, the number of people who streamed music were encouraging.
He ,therefore, pleaded for proper and legitimate collaboration among record labels, management companies, investors, producers, song writers among others to build a catalogue of Ghanaian music.