Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) has over the years been the association in charge of securing musical royalties for their copyright owners for songs produced by performing artistes. GHAMRO however has come under massive criticisms from Ghanaian artistes, casting doubts on their effectiveness and ability to deliver.
In a June 12, 2020 interview monitored by TheAfricanDream.net which was hosted by Jay Foley on JoyPrime, GHAMRO’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Agya Abraham, however, revealed that the association was going to see a massive shakeup that will include the younger generation in the industry that have the needed skill and knowledge set to bring about revolutionary changes.
“I think that some system are [not in place] now because we [have] been struggling with investment. But now with help from the younger generation [who] are quick in doing a lot of things [the system could improve]. We must not be hiding behind the curtains anymore with our problems and I’m happy that with this Alliance For Change and the changes that we are sharing and their availability… I think that we can partner,” said the CEO of GHAMRO.
Also speaking in the same interview, Reggie Zippy of “Reggie and Bollie” fame who is with the Alliance for Change in Ghana Music (AFGHAM) along with his colleague singer Trigmatic, both agreed that GHAMRO was lightyears behind the curve when it came to modernizing the Ghanaian music scene especially with royalties collection system. Both used the opportunity to explain the royalties collection system a bit to Jay Foley and his audience.
“I’m listening to what Agya Abraham is saying and I feel that one of the things I’m happy about is the fact that he admits that GHAMRO is struggling and that is where we [AFGHAM] come in. Reggie said, “Yes we are young but we actually have been in the system [and] we know how to do this. Take for instance myself, I’m not just an artist, I [also] run a record label with my bother Bollie in the UK. We’ve signed British artistes…, so we know this [system].“
According to him, musicians in Ghana have no choice but to go through a bigger struggle because music produced in the country goes through a system that does not recognize their work fully. “These lack of a proper and modern structures leaves much room for losses in revenue” he says, compelling musicians in Ghana to resort to other avenues to try and recoup their investments.
Before a new record is released, it does require a well defined and protected metadata completed. That song is endangered if the metadata (which is like DNA of the song), is not filled out correctly and given to a distributor/aggregator. “Here in the UK, we have a huge distributor. So they then ingest and serve [songs] to all the digital streaming and download platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.“
“Once ingested, they then send this metadata to [Performing Right Society] PRS for music. So in Ghana now, most of the [materials] artistes release have to go through foreign-based companies. Because Ghana is not plugged into the global system” Reggie lamented. This makes it difficult for GHAMRO to fully optimize songs in the Ghanaian system.
On his side, Ghanaian musician, Trigmatic was also of the view that it was very important artistes in the country understand the system to make good use of it. Trigmatic also spoke a bit on the metadata of a song, stressing: “It was very important one understands this to avoid the slightest mistake which will deny one of their rightful royalties as they will go to others.“
Reggie prompted that there is the dire “need to understand what type of royalties GHAMRO is taking, as well as whether they take royalties for only musicians registered with the association or all Ghanaian musicians including foreign-based too.“
Agya Abraham responded by stating caterogically that, GHAMRO collects royalties on behalf of ALL Ghanaian rightsholders. However, non-members need to join the association for collection to be effected.
Alliance for Change in Ghana Music after the interview, told TheAfricanDream.net over the phone that they as an Alliance, they are already liaising with companies that ensure that DNA protection, proper royalty collection, and the eventual plugging in of Ghana into the global music systems are done sooner for hard-working musicians, producers, singers, songwriters and many more to gain full benefits.
“Young artists are not going to be the only ones to benefit from our system, but also the older generation and retired persons in the industry are going to wholly benefit,” said AFGHAM interim Chairman Mark Darlington Osae over the phone to TheAfricanDream.net when he was reached for his take on the Jay Foley interview.
Written by Oral Ofori