This morning I attended a press conference organized by Okyeame Kwame, MTN and Techno. The theme – ‘Digital Migration’ referred to the changing trends in music distribution from physical to digital. Okyeame Kwame will be releasing his new album ‘The Clinic’ exclusively through MTN’s newest music service – ‘MTN Radio’. The service allows mobile phone and smart phone users to subscribe, create playlists, and download songs for a small fee, simply by dialing in to the short code 1303.
A large percentage of Ghanaians do NOT download music via the internet, but almost every Ghanaian has a mobile phone. A growing number of Ghanaians either own smart phones or aspire to own one. There are 10 million subscribers currently on the MTN network in Ghana. It’s about time! I’m personally excited about the possiblities presented here, but as Obuor rightly said at the conference, it is the revenue sharing percentages that would determine if this is really a good deal for us the artists. Okyeame Kwame is leading the way, and his success will influence and inspire other artists to join the digital revolution. I myself will be featuring on a song with Okyeame Kwame on his new album, and look forward to digitizing my work on our local networks as well. Considering our poor(physical) distribution network, this is the way forward. I get numerous calls, messages, and e-mails from fans who have a hard time finding and buying my CDs and it gets frustrating considering the fact that Cantamanto is the music headquarters of Accra. Enough said.
As the poster-child for MTN on this project, and since he will be releasing his new album exclusively through MTN Radio, Okyeame Kwame’s songs will be selling for .95p per song while other artists will be selling for .30p per song. Okyeame Kwame also pledged 20% of all his sales towards free Hepatitis B screening across Ghana.
Over the last decade, the landscape of the global music industry has been transformed, and it’s time for Africa to join the digital revolution. Companies like SPICE and SPINLET are emerging to facilitate this digital movement in partnership with the mobile phone networks who currently hold the key to unlocking Africa’s ‘iTunes’ potential.
Left to right: Okyeame Kwame, Yasmeen, Kwame ‘Swift’ Farkye