BUSAC Comes To The Rescue Of Ghana's Music Industry

The Business Advocacy Challenge Account, BUSAC, has again come to the rescue of the Ghana Music and Creative Industries with a grant to enable stakeholders undertake an advocacy action on developing a policy framework on the need for access to long-term financing for industry players. This is the third time BUSAC, funded by DANIDA, DFID, USAID and the European Union, is supporting the music and creative industries to undertake similar projects and develop proposals for partnership with the government in that direction. The key promoter of this novel objective is the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI) in partnership with Musicians Association of Ghana (MUSIGA), Record Producers Association of Ghana (REPAG), Film Producer Association of Ghana (FIPAG) and other stakeholders in the creative industries in country. A similar BUSAC grant to GAPI in 2007 led to a series of engagements with the government, which finally culminated in issues militating against the development of the industry being incorporated into the GPRS Two or the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda 2010 – 2013. But this current grant would be used to conduct a series of workshops that would critically look at designing policy guidelines in the implementation of issues raised in the GPRS with special emphasis on feasibility studies on access to finance by music right owners in an environment where the stakeholders could use their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as collateral. Project Coordinator for the Workshops, Mr. Francis Mensah Twum told Adom News the first workshop was slated for Kumasi in the first week of November 2011. He noted that mainstream music and creative industries employed in excess of 20,000 people in the informal sector, but it had been neglected by successive governments which hitherto viewed it as an entertainment vehicle instead of a major income and job creation venture, in the socio–economic development of an emerging economy like Ghana. “In addition to this, there are three CD manufacturing plants, countless number of recording studios and video benches, multi–media printing houses for CD jackets and many more in the country, which employ more than 10,000 people, bringing the total number of people working in the sector to more than 30,000,” he said. Mr. Twum noted that music was also being used as raw material by telecom companies such as MTN, Tigo, and Vodafone, as well as over 200 radio stations and 20 television stations across the length and breadth of this country. He said a recent survey conducted by GAPI and its partners, indicated that the estimated net income generated by the industry far exceeds US$300 million and would exceed a billion dollars in the next decade if the needed support was provided by the government with the active support of music users and the public at large. Mr. Twum therefore expressed the gratitude of the music industry to the government for operationalizing part of the Copyright Act 690, which has now allowed right owners to form their own Collection Management Organizations, CMO's, to collect appropriate royalties from music users in the country and abroad. “There are also ongoing engagement with the government to fund capacity-building initiatives that would increase the competitiveness of music producers and musicians to be able to compete with their international counterparts,” he said.