Music business

Ghana: African Music Business Dialogue urges knowledge sharing

Ghanaian musician and creative entrepreneur Trigmatic told Music In Africa that the vast potential of the creative industry as an economic engine, as seen in the United States, Europe and African countries like Nigeria, inspired to organize the first African Music Business Dialogue (AMBD). The event took place in March and welcomed industry professionals from across the continent to Accra, the capital of Ghana. Under the theme, The Big Picture: Action Today, Richer Tomorrowthe conference added to a growing list of African forums aimed at facilitating key conversations to move the industry forward, particularly as it moves into the digital age.

AMBD has seen discussions around revenue generation for all players in the value chain while unpacking untapped opportunities. The seminar also followed the journey of Ghana’s music industry, its growing festival culture and the country as a tourism hub thanks to a booming music industry.

Speakers on the bill were Afro Nation Ghana festival patron and The Rave Group CEO Ruddy Kwakye, sound engineer and producer Kofi ‘IamBeatMenace’ Boachie-Ansah, creative entrepreneur George Nii Ofoli Yartey, producer veteran and record label manager Panji Anoff, Ugandan TV presenter and music expert Sheila Gashumba, and Michelle Mckenzie, who runs the UK-based social enterprise Urban Inclusion Community, among others.

“Whenever Africa shows the world that it has achieved something, Africans get excited when the world jumps on it and it loses them in the mix,” Trigmatic, who was recently appointed to the organ director of the National Council of Folklore, said. “The concern is to discuss how Africans can benefit from the high demand for African music.”

The musician also cited a lack of administrative support despite establishing regular creative partnerships. He said that while some African countries had shown progress in their approach to the music industry, the whole ecosystem was still not up to snuff, and that’s where AMBD stepped in.

Boachie-Ansah highlighted the value of platforms like AMBD in empowering the creative industry. He said creatives have more opportunities than ever to take advantage of professional careers. He praised the event for exploring topics such as intellectual property, branding and marketing in the African context.

“We live in the information age and information is a very important currency,” he said. “In order for us to compete or thrive in this rapidly changing digital landscape as it relates to music and other digital media, it is necessary to normalize conversations and understand how to leverage and profit from IP. .”

Boachie-Ansah believes that although social media has become a daily communication tool for the masses, there are intricacies in the digital landscape that creatives need to be educated on to achieve positive results. In this way, conferences such as AMBD serve as important conversations to assess the potential of digital for music creators.

Music advocate Adwoa E Paintsil, who was a panelist at one of the sessions, lamented the lack of information she hoped events like AMBD could fill. “Even in 2022, people are still making basic mistakes that they could have avoided if they had just had one of these sessions and just listened. And I see it, disputes can be very expensive, exhausting and demoralizing If you are fighting against big companies, you are at a disadvantage from the start.

Over the next five years, Paintsil hopes to see artists gain the legal knowledge necessary to navigate the idiosyncrasies of intellectual property. “I don’t want to review the contracts and you signed your music and basically your life,” she told delegates. “I want to see a world where artists do their thing, because creativity matters, music matters, and it’s important that people are rewarded for their work. I want artists to do better, to read for flourish. Read broadly, read every term. If you don’t understand, use a dictionary so you don’t find yourself in some dilemmas years later.

Addressing the importance of PR for creatives, Gashumba said that while many people know about the production side of the music industry, more needs to be done to make artists aware of the critical role PR plays in the exit success. She also talked about social media, especially TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, as platforms that could engage a wider audience, outside of traditional media.

On addressing structural issues in the music industry, Boachie-Ansah suggested a concerted effort by creatives. “For you to change a system, you have to come as a unified front,” he said, adding that “the more we have such exchanges, the more we close that knowledge gap.”

AMBD organizers say they are planning another conference later in 2022, to revisit Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah’s vision for a united Africa through music.