14.10.2021 Feature Article

Digitize the Music Industry – Dr. Helen Arkorful of the UPSA

Digitize the Music Industry – Dr. Helen Arkorful of the UPSA
14.10.2021 LISTEN

Dr. Helen Kwansima Arkorful has reiterated the need for digitisation of the music industry. In a doctoral thesis title Understanding Factors That Promote Digital Entrepreneurship among Music Production Firms in The SME Sector in Ghana, she outlined many of the advantages associated with digitisation of the music industry. Excerpts of her study are worth reading;

The music industry in Ghana plays a significant role in the promotion of Ghanaian culture, employment generation and contributes immensely to the GDP of Ghana. Digitization is impacting the industry in a many varied ways. The digitization of the music industry in Ghana is being driven by what is happening in the global music industry where there has been massive drive for digitization over the past decades. In order to keep up with the trend in the global music industry, music producers in Ghana are deploying various digitization in various aspects of the music production business. It is important to emphasize that although the drive for digitization has been strong among music producer, the policy support for digitization of the sector and promoting the industry as a whole has not been the best. For instance, results of the study indicates that although the digital migration policy by government is influencing the deployment of digital entrepreneurship among many of the music producer, the implementation of the policy has not been consistent with the occurrence of frequent changes in date. In as much as possible the implementation of the digital migration should be swift and consistent in order for industry players to attach seriousness to the initiative.

In the 2015 and 2016 budget statements, amounts of GHC 33 million and 38 million respectively were allocated to the creative arts, which includes the music industry (MoF, 2015; 2016). This initiative is a good measure towards the promotion of the creative industry as a whole. Although many of the music producers interviewed for this study expressed support for the initiative, there is the concern that the amounts involved were inadequate since the creative industry is large and that when shared amongst them what would accrue to the music industry would be a paltry sum. They however recommended that the initiative of supporting the industry with budgetary commitment should be sustained.

The Culture Policy was developed in 2004 with the aim of promoting Ghanaian culture. Key among the strategies by the Culture Policy to develop the music sector includes among others the promotion of all forms of Ghanaian music by the state. In addition, the policy again notes that the State shall encourage private enterprises to establish production and support activities to document, preserve, protect, publish and promote Ghanaian music. However, as noted by MUSIGA and also collaborated by some of the music producers interviewed for this research, there is not provision for the development of infrastructure for the music industry. It is therefore necessary for the Culture Policy to be reconsidered in terms of strategy that will drive the development of the music industry. Key strategy for the Policy worth considering is for the policy to focus on infrastructure that will enhance digitization in the industry.

Digitization of the music production sector and the industry as a whole is a step in the right direction. This aside, the influence of technology in the music industry as a whole could constitute a threat to the survival of the industry as noted by a section of respondents for this study. Availability of technology makes it possible for songs produced to be downloaded on the internet either free or paid for (MUSIGA, 2013). The technological logistics that will enable music producers to prevent the illegal uploading and downloading of songs is a major challenge that contributes to lose of revenue to the music industry players. In order to forestall the loss of revenue, music producer could come together and pull resources together through the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) and invest in the technological resources that prevents the uploading and downloading of music.

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