Some few months ago I saw most media people in Koforidua the regional capital of Eastern region making various write ups about a proposed eastern region music awards on their various social media walls.
As an individual from the region who is also interested in the music industry in the region, I think it is a laudable move to put music made in our region on the map. I commend the organizers and doff my hat to them for taking such initiative.
However, notwithstanding the good intent this award scheme may carry, I think the organizers have not been fair to all musicians in the region and the various stakeholders of music in the region and if some concerns are not raised and addressed properly this award scheme might cause more harm than good to the musicians and the stakeholders. Why am I saying this?? I believe the scheme is meant to award and appreciate musicians who have worked hard to attain some level of POPULARITY in the region and beyond. My main concern here is how many popular artists do we have in the region?? My fear here is that if care is not taken the few acts who are able to get their songs played on radio stations throughout the region due to their affiliations to some radio presenters and Dj’s are the only ones who will be considered and nominated for this award scheme to the detriment of a whole lot of talented and equally hard working acts in the region who might not be popular due to the act of radio stations not playing their songs. This is an open secret which we all know. Again, how many acts in the region get the opportunity to be billed for performances during events in the region?? Once again these same few acts that get the air play time are the same acts we see on stage during events hence giving them undue advantage over their colleagues in terms of visibility. We can’t overlook and down-play the role of popularity in this music business. How do musicians become popular and visible in the region?? By giving all music talents in the region equal air time play on radio, equal opportunities for interviews and all other forms of promotions. Else we might risk running an award scheme which is not a fair representation of musicians and music lovers of the region. Another sentiment shared by most stakeholders is the fact that after doing a proper scrutiny of the nominee list it was realized that some acts that had nominations are not in any way or what so ever linked to the region. Again there has been the issue of acts getting nomination into the reggae dancehall song of the year but could not make it to the main act of the year nomination. If we seek to have “A” list out of this region then we all have to go back to the drawing board once again for the right thing to be done
Finally, it will be much appropriate if the general public or the stakeholders are made to know the criteria which were used in nominating the artist in various categories.
Nana Asante-Antwi Beniakoh (0209015514)