I love Ghana music, and so far I’ve played an important role where Ghana music is concerned, well those that will give the credit might not be yet born but slowly it will happen, as a matter of fact, Ghana music is my life. I cherish it and that is apparently what I do everyday. I have always wanted to be a musician but too bad, God didn’t give me the voice, the mind to write, neither can I rap to save a life. Anyway, let’s get down to business.
There are lots of problems with Ghana music but the key to the problems is the unavailability of proper and established record labels. Well I know you probably might be thinking, what about the ‘something something entertainments’ out there? Yes, there are lots of that even ‘WONGYE Entertainment’ (God knows what that mean) but is that what a real record label is? Wikipedia defines a Record Label as below.
’A record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion, and enforcement of copyright protection of sound recordings and music videos; conducts talent scouting and development of new artists (“artists and repertoire” or “A&R”); and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term “record label” derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer’s name, along with other information.
In the west (Europe & the USA), the best day of an upcoming artist life is the day he/she will get a record deal that is be signed to a record label, that is surely the day his problems will be solved. Record label does a lot more that what it’s done in Ghana. I’ve known R. Kelly, Celine Dion, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and more since childhood and they never ‘flopped’ musically unless they themselves decide to take a break from music, yet the ones alive are still making top selling records everyday. Now let’s see what a record label does or should be doing. A record label is responsible for a lot and the common ones are, after signing a contract with a label, the label is responsible for your production works (music and videos), getting you good written songs by good song writers (where possible), sorting out good songs for an artist’s album, promoting, marketing and distributing of songs (singles, albums) and deciding on anything where the artist’s musical career is concerned. So apparently the record label does 99% of the job. A Record label is also responsible for finding talents.
Now let’s see what a Ghanaian record label does, if an artist is lucky enough to get a popular song, thus after you’ve shot your own video and taken care of all the studio work, promotion and everything, you might be called by one of them, who might introduce you to the big guys and organizers and if your song is powerful enough, you might get big shows to play. If that works out well on a good season (between August down to December), the artist and the label might make a lot of money. Mostly after the success, the artist will branch and form his/her own label being it as he’s banked enough and call it for instance ‘The Artist Entertainment. Apparently every popular musician have a personal (mostly self-titled) record label in Ghana and have nobody else signed to it but themselves. What label is Efya signed to? We don’t know nor have an idea? What about Sarkodie? He sometimes mention Konvict Muzik, Sometimes Duncwills Entertainement, actually his last album had Konvict Muzik in all the songs, whilst his first album had Duncwills all over it, What about R2Bees, a couple of songs on their first album had ‘King Bling Entertainment’, We never heard that again in their recent songs. What about VIP? After they left Paradise Entertainment, we don’t have an idea of their new label. What about 4X4? We can’t tell.I hear something like X4 Records A Ghanaian artist change record labels countless times.
I’ve talked to lot of artists about these instances and all I get from them is, ‘they are being cheated, as plans never go as things initiated’, who should we blame? We’ve never seen a Ghanaian artist who has released hits after hits and stayed in the industry for more than 5years consecutively. It barely happens. Let’s ask ourselves why?
Over the years, I’ve seen many come and fall, great soldiers (musicians), beat makers, one hit wonders and more. All because we lack a good team that should do the 99% work in our industry. There a few that I would call record labels in Ghana hence the topic ‘There Are Not More Than 6 …‘ namely
Lynx Entertainment – I won’t lie to you, they came as a team and won lots of hearts, they had their good song writer ‘Asem’, good beat maker ‘Richie’ and signed lots of artists on board, including Irene Logan, Zigi, OJ Blaq, Eazzy and more, they might be missing in action but I would commend them for portraying a good record label skills during their reigning time.
Skillions Records : Skillions might not be popular Ghana-wide but those that know them know that they’ve got a good vision and by the time they will be ready for Ghana, much will be done and learnt from their side.
Bullhaus Entertainment: These team came out of nowhere, brought about 5 Five, Iwan, Nii Soul, and many more and stormed Ghana with their powerful team, their newest signee ‘NaturalFaCe is on the way of becoming the next big thing.
Last 2: Headed by Hammer is responsible for great artists we see today, Obrafour, Tinny, Edem, Okra, Kwaw Kese and many great musicians came from the camp and are still doing well even though they are not with the label anymore.
BBnZ Live: It’s the newest label and so far they’ve signed only EL to their label (well that is what I know of), but they’ve proved a lot since their existence.
Empire Entertainment: This team is responsible for the duo Ruff N Smooth about 3 years ago with their hit single ‘Swagger’, since then, they’ve signed-on many artists including ‘Guru’ and more.
If there is any that you know of, that we didn’t mention, you can let us know below. There are lots of artist these days, if if these are the few labels then what are we doing?
I’m not going to ‘bla bla’ and go like that, mostly I get asked why don’t I start a record label myself? My answer always is, A record label is not just one guy, who think he’s got the money to make an artist. A Record label should have a team which consists of A&R, writers, producers, people who know music and lots more, it’s a team work and more is needed for such causes. Moreover artists should sign contracts with their individual labels to avoid breach and the ‘I was cheated’ situation. We must also bear in mind that every artist who jump from label to label will eventually be a failure so, if your label help you reach success, go along with them, don’t start your own thing as mostly it helps kill your whole career as it’s happened to many of our great musicians.
We would love to know your opinion.