Popular creative arts enterpreneur and politician Baba Sadiq Abdulai Abu has underscored the importance of creatives receiving formal education in music business locally at the various creative arts institutions.
“Almost all of the creative schools that are in Ghana, there’s a need for us to add enterpreneurship and the business or commercial part of it to the training,” he said.
“Most of us that went to communication school, we [came] out wanting to be just communicators, journalists, public relations persons, or anything like that,” he said.
He said that “it’s the same” when you go to the National Film and Television Institute “NAFTI”, one-third of the new tertiary body called the University of Media, Arts & Communication (UniMAC), as it is when “you go to the Graphics department at KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).”
The centre of the problem, Sadiq diagnosed, is that “primarily,” students over the years are just “trained to be creatives.
“But if there [are] these other parts that are brought in – the business part of it – it will help to begin to realign everybody’s mindset so that by the time you’re done from school and you’re in the industry, you’d have that analytical mindset to be able to structure yourself, structure the immediate business that you started with and then you move on from there.”
The multimedia executive was speaking as a pundit on Friday, April 21, 2023’s edition of Accra-based TV3’s New Day programme hosted by Berla Mundi.
The conversation was occasioned by Ghanaian Hiplife superstar Obrafour suing Canadian Hiphop titan Drake for using a portion of his 2003 hit ‘Oye Ohene Remix’ in his (Drake) 2022 hit ‘Calling My Name’ without express permission.
Reportedly, Drake’s team had emailed Obrafour concerning their sampling of his song but received no reply. Subsequently, they went ahead to release a June 17, 2022 tape called Honestly, Nevermind with the said sample exhibited on track 6 Calling My Name.
In a suit that came to public attention on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 – https://t.co/v84eQUFxMz – Obrafour asked for nothing less than US$10 million in damages from Drake and co.
In a stunning twist of events, Hiplife star hypeman Mantse Aryeequaye informed the public and particularly Drake, in a series of tweets, that he was in fact the one who owned the intellectual property in question.
He had invited Obrafour to discuss the illegality since release of the said song but had received no reply, Mr Aryeequaye indicated.
The sample which captures the words: “Killer cut, blood,” was composed and voiced by Mantse Aryeequaye. At least, the voice belonging to him is public knowledge and was acclaimed during Hiplife’s heyday.
Mantse, in the tweets, said he recorded the aforementioned line for renowned record producer Da’Hammer who produced ‘Oye Ohene’. Mantse also stated that the line was used in other Hiplife records.
He eventually directed Drake and co to consult lawyer Kofi Bentil, his legal representative, henceforth.
Baba Sadiq reasons that, in the grand scheme of things, such blunders are avoidable.
He was glad for the learning opportunity this international copyright infringement case has presented for the unstructured Ghana music industry.
He entreated media houses to platform pundits who are well-versed in these matters to address them for the public’s enlightenment instead of chasing “the most sensational headlines” and vainly stirring people’s emotions.
To local music makers, executives and stakeholders, Mr Abdulai Abu said: “We need to understand that the responsibility to create that well structured unit of industry starts with us before everybody else.”
He expressed his concurrence with Mantse, also, buttressing his point with Sisqo’s copyright infringement over the famed lyrics “livin’ la vida loca” from Ricky Martin’s song ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’.
Even though Martin sang the song, the said lyrics, used by Sisqo, in his world-famous Thong Song, was the intellectual property of Desmond Child who composed and wrote the lyrics.
Thus, it was Child who was eventually compensated, albeit out of court, by Sisqo and co.