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    Kampsite to the rescue of composers

    by Graphic Showbiz
    posted Friday, 29 May 2009 11:34| 1 Comments
    The collection and distribution of royalties is one of the major headaches of the music business in this country and that has prompted the owner and CEO of Kampsite Music, Victor Tieku to go into partneship with Peermusic, a leading American music publishing company to develop the publishing marketplace here and boost the intenational profile of music from West Africa.

    Peermusic was established in 1928 and has grown into a major independent publishing company that boasts of a 300,000-song-title catalogue. It is currently headed by Ralph Peer II. The roster of talented songwriters registered with Peermusic include Madonna, Donovan and Britney Spears.

    Tieku is has been resident in the United States for several years now but comes home regularly. He played  guitar with Ghanaian bands such as Heaven and Earth, Bob Pinodo’s Covet 7, Busy Bees and  Dutch Benglos before moving to Nigeria where he worked with Mjek Fashek and was later Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s guitarist from 1981 to 1984. He set up the Kampsite Records studio in 1995 at Dansoman near the SSNIT Flats. The studio now operates from Winneba.

    He told Showbiz last weekend that the bane of the music business in Ghana is the lack of structures for collecting royalties for composers and that a properly established publishing house like what he has set out to do will be of immense benefit to Ghanaian society as a whole.

    In the music industry, a music publisher (or publishing company) is responsible for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially.

    Through an agreement called a publishing contract, a songwriter or composer assigns the copyright of their composition to a publishing company.

    In return, the company licenses compositions, helps monitor where compositions are used, collects royalties and distributes them to the composers. They also secure commissions for music and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film and television.

    Under the partnership between Peermusic and Kampsite, the Ghanaian company will seek the American outfit’s interests in terms of its complete catalogue. Peermusic will also exploit the Kampsite catalogue outside of the West African market.

    In an article in Billboard magazine, Ralph Peer II stated that Peermusic is working with Kampsite “to help the composers understand that their work has value and needs to be cared for.

    There is a rich musical heritage there (in Ghana and West Africa) but we need to help give it a little order and hopefully we can all benefit as part of the deal.”

    While “every country in West Africa has had  collection societies since the 1960s, the problem is collecting from the radio and television stations for performance rights,” Tieku says.

    Once the concept of performance royalties has been established,  Kampsite is to work with locals to ensure the payment of mechanical royalties. Tieku agrees that the whole concept of collection of royalties and the different types there are need to be properly explained to  stakeholders to enable them acknowledge their responsibilities.

    To broaden the base of Ghanaian composers who would be able to benefit from their talents, Kampsite intends organising a forum where composers can assign their works to Kampsite and be fittingly rewarded when the works are exploited in any form by recording artistes or any form of electronic media.

    Tieku pointed out that the services of publishing houses are crucial to the welfare of composers and Kampsite will do all it can for Ghanaian and West African composers to reap the rewards of their toil.

    Famous artists who have performed repertoire assigned to Peermusic include Elvis Presley,  The Beatles,  The Allman Brothers,  Art Garfunkel,  Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Kenny Rogers, Boy George, Britney Spears and Julio Iglesias.

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