Monday, 8 June 2009

Victor Tieku to Develop New Collecting Org in Ghana

Mark Schultz and Alec van Gelder (mentioned here, here and here for their work "Nashville in Africa") have written a piece for Ghana News highlighting Ghanaian musician/producer Victor Tieku and the Ghanaian music industry.

Victor Tieku is striving to be Ghana's version of Ralph Peer, the man who founded the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee.  In fact, last year peermusic began collaborating with Tieku and his label, Kampsite Records.  Part of Tieku's plan involves a new method of royalty collection.  Rather than using the Copyright Society of Ghana, which is fraught with many of the same problems as other African collecting societies, artists can use Tieku's business as the intermediary for collecting royalties.

"He [Tieku] plans to set up a music publishing business that will promote and license music for radio and television, in advertisements, films, ringtones, and recordings by other musicians."

Schultz and van Gelder express a belief that this will benefit the Ghanaian industry.  Collecting societies in Africa often developed from remnants of institutions left behind by colonial powers or in mimicking developed countries.  This cart-before-the-horse scenario resulted in a situation in which countries have collecting societies but without the strong publishing company backbones needed to support the societies.  Tieku is taking the opportunity provided by Ghana's new copyright law (Section 49) that allows private "collective administration societies" to create that strong backbone.

Schultz and van Gelder also discussed other areas where Ghana is making progress and where it still needs some work to legally support growing a successful music industry.  The goods and bads are pretty much the usuals for Africa: popular music, new copyright law; lack of implementation of new law, poor enforcement, rampant piracy.  And that overwhelming common good: a lot of potential for an amazing industry.

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