What does Musiga do?

Musiga logo

MUSIGA is not in charge of royalties; that’s GHAMRO’s job.

Listening to the Cosmopolitan Mix on Tuesday, Oct 24th 2017, it became clear the problem many musicians had with Musiga stemmed from a lack of information. Some were oblivious to the main reason for the establishment of the association. To hear Obour put it, there were those who were not registered members speaking of what Musiga hadn’t done for them. There were those who even confused Musiga’s role with GHAMRO’s. The latter, Obuor said, is an association of musicians with a specific mandate; the latter is responsible for the collection of royalties for musicians, among other things.

Doreen Andoh probed Obuor on many issues. As for the issue of the GH 2m received from the government, Obuor stated emphatically it was used for the very things for which it was acquired. Thus, they went to the government seeking funds for specific projects, namely, organising a music festival, research, etc., and for which reasons they could not have done anything else with the money. I am more intrigued by the claim that Musgia researched the contribution of the music industry to the country’s economy. If all other struggling industries have to source funds to valuate their contributions to Ghana’s GDP, what then is the role of the Ghana Statistical Service?

Despite these facts, I am inclined to believe that Musiga is making an excuse of the trappings of constitution to ignore its mighty potential. According to the Union of Informal Workers Association, of which Musiga is a member and thereby part of TUC, Musiga’s services and benefits include legal advice on copyright legislation, discount on musical facilities, making claims on behalf of members, tax free clearing of musical equipment at the ports, etc. These are commendable benefits for members who make their regular contributions. And so while Ghamro is in charge of royalties, Musiga as an association of concerned musicians should be able to create a better understanding between them and the people they represent. Are they ACTUALLY making royalty claims on behalf of the musicians? Are they ACTUALLY defending their members’ rights with respect to monies due them? Have they ACTUALLY ever questioned the mandate given GHAMRO with regards to what they are doing? I am assuming Musiga has a seat on the Board of Directors; the Ghamro website is lacking in that information.

There is clearly a lack of connect between MUSIGA and the people it purports to represent. Its Facebook page barely receives engagement; its wiki page has just about 60 words, most of it about Obuor and his election rivals. Despite almost 20k followers on twitter, its tweet on Paapa Yankson’s funeral received just one like! Amazing! Musiga is sitting on a goldmine of content capability but shows a very limited inclination to communicate. Imagine what such an institution could do for its members. If your potential audience are not aware of what you can do for them, most of the blame should lie at your doorstep.

Speak more. Educate more. You are musicians, for crying out loud. Make noise!

I was therefore glad to hear Obuor saying he would push for more communication. If the music industry doesn’t make communication key, I don’t know of any other sector that can!

For a country where the music industry is barely existing, one would have expected a stronger alliance with GHAMRO to come up with a policy to curb piracy. GHAMRO’s 2016 financial statement shows they spent just over GHS 7k on anti-piracy task force. Over a whole year! What did they achieve, and what measurable impact did they have? We might just need another government fund to tell!

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