Is the music business still lucrative in Ghana?...

[WRITTEN BY: Henry Jack (Solid 103.7 FM),  EDITOR: George Awiadem Maclean]

 It is without doubt --- and It has been said a zillion times and over --- that music is the soul's food . In other words, music is the soul and the soul is music!

In our part of the world, the Highlife music genre, for instance, has literally fed and still continues to feed the souls of thousands of Ghanaians.

Ghana has a very rich music background which is reflected in the rich traditions and cultures that cut across the board.

But the big question is: does it still pay to take music as a full time business/job here in Ghana apart from the excitement we get from the 'shows' aspect and in this era of pendrives and high tech phones for easy and free dubbing of songs?

The glorious days of highlife in the late 80s and early 90s saw many Ghanaian musicians earn 'great' incomes and the opportunities to even travel abroad to broaden their horizons in music.

Daddy Lumba, Nana Acheampong and the like, for example, made it big time with their music careers after spending their lives in Germany.

Then came the Hiplife movement --- a combination of rap music with direct African American influence and our traditional music --- started by Reginald Osei popularly known as Reggie Rockstone.

The Hiplife movement just like its counterpart, Hip Hop, has helped immensely in putting food on the tables of many and even enriched artistes like Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Guru, R2Bees, Okyeame Kwame and so on.

Even though music as a full-time business or job may not be as lucrative as it used to be sometime back for industry players like the Executive producers, cassettes and CD production houses, wholesalers and retailers etc., but it is worth noting that it has tremendously become very lucrative to the artistes or musicians plus their "hunger-stricken" managers in recent times.

Now some of the current crop of artistes are getting paid as high as GHC50,000 to GHC 100,000 for a single show unlike previously when many of them had to struggle and fight with event organizers before they could even get their "lorry fares".

But the sustainability of this "lucrativeness" to the artistes or musicians all depends on the kinds of proper investments they make whilst they still flourish.

When Tony Best, the host of Entertainment Edge on Solid 103.7 FM, sought the views of renowned Highlife musician, Nana Tuffour aka 9924, on this subject matter, he (Nana) made it clear that the way some of the DJs and presenters are going about the music business these days, it is very pathetic and detrimental to the music industry.

"They record different kinds of songs made by different artistes on CDs --- something they refer to as "selections" --- and then sell them to owners of drinking spots and our brothers and sisters abroad whilst they take all the money at the expense of the artistes involved," Nana Tuffour said.

He further stated that if someone takes music as a full time job and doesn't succeed, then it is usually due to mismanagement and not about getting someone to executive produce or support him/her.

"If you don't have any serious management that has "links", it's very difficult for you to even get a show to perform."

Panelists on the show also shared their varied views and one of them, Sheygey Buoy King Bigtinz (George Awiadem Maclean), didn't mince words in throwing some shots at some of our young Hiplife artistes like Sarkodie whom he said usually talks about getting flashy and expensive cars like Bugatti in his songs.

"You may be thinking that is just a song but that is usually not the case.

"The price tag of Bugatti ranges from 1.5 million dollars onwards and if Sarkodie 'manages' and uses all his hard earned income to buy such an expensive car without investing it, what do you think will happen if he starts flopping musically?

"Such negative developments make it look like the business aspect of music isn't lucrative at all in Ghana.

"When you take the likes of Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Obrafour, you would think it is only music that they do but they do have some investments elsewhere."

Big Ben, one of the industry's giants, also said when previously the industry was about records before it moved to cassettes, the business wasn't that bad until the advent of Compact Discs (CDs) and pendrives.

"Now within a short time, one can download a track which hasn't even been released yet which deprives the owner of that track some profits.

"You will spend a lot in producing an album and you won't even get a dime out of it these days" he concluded.

'Entertainment Edge' on Solid 103.7 FM (Kumasi) is hosted by Tony Best and comes to you this and every Saturday from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.

The analytically analytical panellists on the show include: Atopa of Ozons Chemist, Fuzzy, DJ Willy (Shatta Movement ), Prince of PDF and Sheygey Buoy King (

'Entertainment Edge' is ably produced by Henry Jack and Prince Afari Mintah.