Aspiring President for the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Henry Bessa Simons, has pledged to solve the greatest problems of musicians in Ghana
Bessa Simons said this during his manifesto launch, which took place at the GNAT Hall in Accra on December 13, 2021.
He said problems associated with music royalties collection will be a thing of the past as he is poised to monetise every song that receives airplay.
The renowned musician, who has acted as President of MUSIGA for the past two years, says he is up to win the race billed for January 12, 2022, to continue the good works since he became acting head of MUSIGA.
According to him, monetising music through digitisation is an agenda he will propel forward to make musicians comfortable financially so they can have sound minds to produce more songs.
“All works will be registered with MUSIGA, every music you put out there. Radio, TV, restaurants and bars et cetera. We have done this in Nigeria and collected over 2.7 billion Naira. We will track everything. All works they’ve used that they have not paid for.”
“We have the tech to track every media house when your song is being played. We are very sure and we know this will change the phase of the music industry. Every penny will be accounted for,” he said.
Bessa Simons disclosed that he will secure grants to educate members, adding that each region will be encouraged to have a fundraising activity that will be supported by the President.
The manifesto captures clauses about strengthening all MUSIGA regional branches where every office will be provided with administrative secretaries and the requisite tools to work with.
Mr. Simons said apart from ensuring that copyright is checked drastically, he will organise workshops to help link every musician to the international music market.
He explained that the gesture will help equip the Ghanaian musician with what it takes to be self-reliant, creative and industrious.
Other initiatives that he mentioned as part of the vision, included finding innovative ways to generate revenue for the Union by implementing ‘MUSIGA regional bands’, ‘MUSIGA Play an Instrument Programme’ and an annual fee-paying MUSIGA Expat Concert that will have expatriates treated to original Ghanaian tunes to make them feel a part of the society.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Adomonline.com, Bessa Simons said one of the core policies he will enforce is a 70/30 play-Ghana-music policy that will encourage broadcasters to play more Ghanaian content to curb the influx of foreign music in Ghana.
In terms of capacity building, the acting President of MUSIGA said he will lobby to put music back on the educational curriculum at the primary level in all schools and also introduce young musicians to a well-structured pension scheme to prevent them from being “paupers” later life.
The icing on the cake is introducing a policy that will ensure payment of up-and-coming musicians for all gigs and on-air performances across the country.
Speaking on Bessa Simons’ strategy to ensure music royalties and copyright entitlements are duly paid, the Head of Operations at GoCreate Africa, Lekan Ola, said he will work with MUSIGA to materialise it effectively through their technology.
“One of the problems we face in Africa is tech. Works of older musicians and the younger ones are being used without adequate compensation and we are here working with MUSIGA to create accountability and proper remuneration with artistes,” he stated. MUSIGA would go to the polls on January 12, 2022, with Mr Bessa Simons (Acting MUSIGA President), Madam Deborah Freeman (General Secretary of MUSIGA), and Ras Caleb Appiah Levi (Greater Accra Regional Chairman for MUSIGA) contesting for the top post.