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    What do you mean, Abraham Ohene Djan?

    by Arnold Asamoah Baidoo
    posted Monday, 04 May 2009 09:35| 7 Comments

    The Chief Executive of OM studios, Abraham Ohene-Djan, on Tuesday called on television stations to pay Ghanaian musicians for airing their videos.

    He told GNA in an interview that Ghana was the only country where musicians paid money before their videos were aired. Mr. Ohene-Djan said television stations attracted more viewers when they aired music videos, adding that, television stations also made more money when advertisers placed their adverts on musical programmes. He explained that television stations spent money to produce programmes but did not want to spend money when they aired music videos, saying a percentage of the money the stations made from advertisements must be paid to the musicians.

    He said musicians would be able to produce good quality music videos and earn money when television stations paid them. Mr. Ohene-Djan said new TV channels like Fiesta on Sky Digital TV would start paying musicians for their works. He said Fiesta TV would pay musicians to produce more music videos adding that this would help grow the music industry.

    First of all, let me congratulate Mr. Ohene-Djan for winning the 4Syte Music Video Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Ghana Music Award for directing the Woso video for Okyeame Kwame. For months, Mr. Ohene Djan has been articulating his feelings on the subject of TV stations paying musicians for the airing of the music videos and in as much as I respect his opinion, I believe he’s sounding like a broken record and almost becoming a nuisance. I have monitored the venerated director waltz from one media house to the other with the same issue and the same noise-making and it is jarring – for me. The dicey nature of the issue prompted Charterhouse to organize a forum which was attended by Heads of some of the TV stations and major stakeholders in the industry and every little issue concerning the topic was addressed, yet, Mr. Ohene-Djan is still galling us with this issue.

    Interestingly, he always ends his interviews promoting his new music television; Fiesta TV and I have mixed feelings about it. My qualm is; why won’t he go straight to the point and promote his station instead of hiding behind this issue and yelp? Some of us can see right through him. In one of his interviews with Graphic Showbiz in a typical Hugo Chavez style, he called musicians to take their music videos off the stations. And one may ask; take the videos off and take them to where? Fiesta TV, I suppose.

    In the same interview, he asserted that television stations would have blank spaces when there are no music videos. Who told him so? In the above interview, hear him; Mr. Ohene-Djan said television stations attracted more viewers when they aired music videos  adding that, television stations also made more money when advertisers placed their adverts on musical programmes. That is hogwash! What research did he do to come up with such findings?  So, Obrafour’s Pae mu ka video or Tic Tac's Philomena attracted more viewers than Things We do for Love on GTV and Cee's Dedeeede or Ampong's Akokofun attracted more viewers than Mentor or Ghana’s Most Beautiful on TV3? Please give us a break.

    Another howler; He told GNA in an interview that Ghana was the only country where musicians paid money before their videos were aired. He said musicians would be able to produce good quality music videos and earn money when television stations paid them.  He should give us examples of countries and television stations that pay musicians for airing their videos and who told him that the ability of the musicians to produce quality videos is dependent on stations paying them?

    Mr. Abraham Ohene-Djan is good at what he does best, video directing but he is confusing himself and confusing observers with his stance. He is not wrong to call for stations to pay artistes for screening their videos but his facts are wrong and his arguments are implicitly flawed. On Peace FM with the same issue, he mentioned international stations like MTV, MTVBase, and Channel O. What Ohene-Djan fails to articulate is that the GTVs, TV3s and the Metro TVs are not music television stations.

    The MTV and Channel O are strictly music televisions that are in to play music videos only, so for them, they need the music videos to fill their blank spaces. Research shows that music video is a major tool in promoting and selling records, so the stations play videos to promote the records and the (videos) provide content to such stations.

    For instance, BET’s 106 & Park runs a system where viewers are allowed to download the videos online for a fee and percentages split between the station and the artistes. Unlike Ohene-Djan’s Fiesta TV which is a music television station that needs music videos to fill its blank spaces, the GTVs and TV3s have programmes both local and foreign that give them content. Check this scenario; if TV3 plays Praye’s Angelina before they show Mentor, which makes the other popular?

    I expected Mr. Ohene-Djan to address the issue on how our music videos are made and presented to the television stations. The music videos are fraught with adverts, adverts and adverts. The music videos are now used as a tool to make advertisements on somebody’s television and you expect him not to charge you? The artiste advertises his contact, the Producer advertises his, the Distributor advertises his phone numbers and locations where consumers can find and buy the album, and the music video director also shows his logo in the video advertising to the whole world that he made the video. After the artiste gets his money for advertising his contact numbers, after the producer and distributor gain their money for advertising their Stores and after Abraham Ohene Djan gets more work after advertising his logo in the video – what money should the station use to pay for the electricity bills and for the maintenance of its sophisticated machines?

    By mentioning MTVBase and Channel O, I get the impression Mr. Ohene-Djan patronizes such stations. He should tell me if videos shown on those stations have contact numbers of artistes, producers and distributors and big logos of the music video directors.

    Check this; He said Fiesta TV would pay musicians to produce more music videos adding that this would help grow the music industry. No problem, start paying them first and then you can start making your valuable arguments.

    Yes, the television stations are obliged to play music videos without charging the artistes if they don’t use them (videos) as tools for advertisements. Ideally, the only information the videos are supposed to carry is the title of song and name of artiste and sometimes, the name of the director – finish and Mr. Ohene-Djan should know that. Also, the stations are obliged to pay or enter into agreement with the artistes if the stations use the music videos (without adverts) to market or promote another product like a show or a programme.

    I am very happy that Mr. Ohene-Djan is out with a music television and I applaud him because it would serve as a huge platform for musicians to market their products but he should change his mode of promoting his station and say the right things at the right time. No hard feelings though.




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