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MTN committed to development of creative arts sector – Chief Marketing Officer

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The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of MTN Ghana, Noel Kojo-Ganson, has reiterated the company’s commitment to the development of the creative arts sector.

He stated that, “As an enabler of opportunities, we organised a forum in 2016 for music producers, musicians, content producers and other stakeholders to discuss how to explore digital channels to market their content”.

In 2018, he said, MTN held another conference that focussed on intellectual property and protection interventions because of the need to patent content before sharing on-line.

Last Thursday, the telecommunications giant held the 2020 MTN Digital Music Conference on its Facebook and YouTube pages to, among other things, shed more light on how musicians and other creative individuals can build and sustain the impact of their works and their images globally and locally.

This year’s conference, according to the Chief Marketing Officer, was particularly important because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has affected industries negatively and positively and the creative arts industry has not been left out because there has been huge digital consumption. Digital platforms have become the primary source of lifestyle and entertainment news, and industry statistics suggest that the sale of  music through digital platforms keep increasing year-on-year compared to  physical sales,” he explained.

He urged players in the creative arts sector, particularly those in the music industry, to strive to take advantage of the numerous opportunities presented by the increasing digital developments in the world today.

“While the rise in music consumption is significant, it is important to understand the elements that will make participation and monetisation of this phenomenon meaningful to us here in Ghana,” he pointed out.

Mr Kojo-Ganson noted that issues of copyright, frameworks, file-sharing and piracy remain critical and thus behoves people in the creative arts space to take active part in programmes such as the MTN Music Conference to discuss and also learn how the opportunities in the digital world can be harnessed to support the growth of the arts and entertainment industry.

According to the CMO, paid subscriptions to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music lead the rise in consumption, but that is not the only remarkable phenomenon. “The globalised nature of the industry today is mind-blowing”, he stressed.

The 2020 conference largely concentrated on modern trends and innovative ideas that players in the creative arts industry can adopt to generate revenue within the digital space. The programme was on the theme; ‘How to Monetise Your Work and The Challenges of Digital Media’.

The conference attracted top industry experts including, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africori, South Africa, Yoel Kenan, who was the Keynote Speaker. Others were Gillian Ezra from Music Time, South Africa, who was the Guest Speaker; Rex Omar, musician and Chairman of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), Cynthia Quarcoo, Managing Partner, CQ Legal & Consulting and Founder, Africa 1 Media and Richie Mensah, CEO of Lynx Entertainment, who were all panellists.

Kofi Boakye-Ansah aka Kofi Beatmenace, Creative Director and Kwame Asenso of Ghanamotion.com also contributed to the discussions. The programme was moderated by Antoine Mensah of LiveXtra, EIB Network.

Yoel Kenan advised musicians to take time to understand themselves and build their identities as musicians. “First and foremost, you need to understand yourself; what is your identity as an artiste?” Musicians, he said, need to have answers to that question if they want to make a great impact.

He said making a hit song might not be sufficient enough in the market that one is trying to reach, adding that without promotion, something terrible happens; you get nothing!

“My message again is, yes, there is money in user generated content (UGC) and of course, opportunities in promotion. So do not only promote your stuff in your country but also try to spread outside…’ he pointed out.

Record labels at the moment, he said, are just looking at data, so if musicians are looking forward to sign to a Warner or Sony, “I can say they are all monitoring information and the competition’.

The Guest Speaker, Gillian Ezra also advised musicians to take advantage of analytical tools on the streaming platforms to track the progress of their works. She added that, piracy is a major challenge of digital music and therefore it is very important for musicians to understand publishing rights to be able to protect their works.

The Ghamro Chairman, Rex Omar explained that in copyright there are two legs; the copyright itself for the music and then the copyright in the recorded sound.”Up and coming musicians don’t need to come to Ghamro. They can upload their music and apply for Ghamro membership online,” he added.

“People think that as you go and record a demo then automatically you become a member of Ghamro and you start to collect money, it doesn’t work that way. Ghamro gets money from music usage, so the music must have been released, promoted then the revenues that come out of its usage, Ghamro collects and distributes,” he further clarified.

The CEO of Lynx Entertainment, Richie Mensah, who is musician, producer and artiste manager reminded his colleagues in the music industry that, “anybody anywhere can listen to your music so we need to rise to the challenge that, it is our job to get the job done”.

He identified three streams of income for musicians in Ghana namely; performances, digital platforms and endorsements, “But a lot of people think you can have fun with music and make money, which is a misconception. It is serious business that needs a lot of effort and strategy”.

The Managing Partner of CQ Legal & Consulting, Cynthia Quarcoo stated that sync licensing was another way of monetization. A music synchronization license, or “sync” for short, is a music license granted by the holder of the copyright of a particular composition, allowing the licensee to synchronise (“sync”) music with some kind of visual media output (film, television shows, advertisements, video games, accompanying website music, movie trailers, etc.

She charged artistes to participate actively in the business side of their music and also challenged industry players “to convert these talks into action”.

While promoting teamwork in the music industry, she stressed the need for Ghanaians to see opportunities than problems in the sector.

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