Accra, Feb. 12, GNA - The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) on Thursday announced a project that would give Ghanaian musicians an opportunity to promote their music globally through the internet. The project, which has already started allows people all over the world to log onto www.tvu.com/musigatv to access musical clips and tunes from Ghanaian musicians and also enables them to sell their music on line.
Mrs Diana Hopeson, President of MUSIGA, said the organization was creating an office dedicated to developing, promoting and marketing Ghanaian music internationally and said her organization had also received funding from the Cultural Initiative Support Programme (CISP) to train members on contracts and the use of written agreements. The Union, she said was also rehabilitating a rehearsal unit at the head office with support from the Danish Cultural Fund to help those who cannot afford some necessities needed to enhance their work. Mrs Hopeson also announced that MUSIGA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a grant to establish a training centre to train members on the need to practice professionally.
She said MUSIGA was now a member of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and promised members that the organization was trying to secure a social security scheme for members with the help of the SSNIT Informal sector programme.
One issue that dominated the meeting was the question of "Payola" where musicians are in a way forced to pay radio and television station presenters before their music is aired. "I am pleading with radio and TV stations to stop taking money before playing our music," she said and pointed out that "We do not have to pay presenters before our music videos are aired." She appealed to members to pay their dues since the union needed more resources to run the secretariat.
"Out of about 3,500 memberships only 300 members renewed their registration and paid their dues promptly." Mrs Hopeson said MUSIGA was designing software which would be able to format an MP3 player and allow the association to track those who downloaded music from the internet to pay royalties.
"We need an efficient collecting society to collect our royalties." A collecting society is a body recognized by law that is responsible for collecting royalties for musicians whose music is used by radio and TV stations She called for unity among members to enable them progress as a union and said it was only when they were united that anybody outside the union would recognize them.
Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary- General of the Trades Union Congress informed members of a new pension scheme, "a three tier pension" that made provision for the informal sector. He advised them to be united and burry any differences among them.