A board member of the Ghana Music Right Organization GHAMRO, Mark Okraku Mantey, revealed on GHOne’s ‘The Pundits’ on Tuesday, 29th April, 2014 that most radio and television stations don’t log songs they play; talkless of paying royalties to the right owners – musicians.
Celebrated highlife musician Amakye Dede burst out some months ago and took on the executives of GHAMRO. Amakye Dede revealed that he was paid an amount of GHC 250 as his annual royalties after many years of singing and producing hit albums.
Next was young highlife musician, Kaakyire Kwame Fosu, popularly known in showbiz as K.K. Fosu had also descended on GHAMRO for not paying him royalties. In recent times, musicians such as T-Blaze, Kwabena Kwabena, Paedae of R2Bees, and Wanlov Kobolor have also added their voice to the royalty n0n-payment chorus.
When it comes to sources for royalty payment, they are simply enormous – hotels, banks, spinners, restaurants, drinking spots, events, clubs, etc. However, most of the aforementioned avenues are in the informal sector, hence, collecting royalties from them comes with many challenges.
However, the very formal and reliable sources GHAMRO can collect royalties for musicians are television and radio stations. Meanwhile, majority of these television and radio stations in Ghana don’t pay royalties.
Any time I listen to television and or radio and hear these very radio and television presenters host musicians who are angry at GHAMRO and thus use the air space to lambaste GHAMRO or they the presenters censor GHAMRO, I ask myself, where has conscience gone to in this world?
To those television and radio stations who posit that GHAMRO has not given them any logging sheets that is why they don’t pay royalties, my question to them is, does VAT officials come to your offices every month to threaten you to pay taxes?
Don’t you do so because you know the law says so or expects you to do so? So as a television or radio station, you don’t know that per Ghana’s Copyright Act 690 2005 and Regulations 2010 L.I 1962 Section 37 SUBSECTION (1) broadcasting an artiste’s recorded works – audio and audio-visual, you are suppose to pay royalties?
So if GHAMRO has not presented a log in sheet to you as a TV or radio presenter, what is so difficult or wrong in picking a paper and listing the songs you play and the number of times you play and send the list to GHAMRO office? Just as you file your taxes to IRS every year?
TV and radio presenters sit on air and criticize executives at GHAMRO for not helping musicians with royalty collection and sharing. Isn’t this double standard? You are a TV or radio presenter, you don’t log songs for royalties to be paid to musicians, yet, you have the sheer audacity to sit on air and criticize GHAMRO for giving out paltry GHC 100 to musicians as royalties. Ask yourself, if all of you are to log songs and pay royalties, will GHC 100 or 150 be the amount GHAMRO will give to musicians? Hypocrisy will find all of us out someday in this industry!
The musicians who should throw their support behind GHAMRO to fight the oppressors and dream killers – TV and radio stations, ignorantly tie their ropes to the latter and rather fight the former. It’s like being chased by a ghost and running into the dark to seek refuge.
GhanaCelebrities.Com is by this piece calling on GHAMRO to start suing radio stations who don’t log and pay royalties to musicians. Whilst that is important, GHAMRO should also make it a point to present logging sheets to radio stations or secure an ICT system to monitor songs played on radio so they can collect royalties for musicians. Until then….MOTWUM!!