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7 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY AS A MUSICIAN IN GHANA

Are you a well known artist or an underground (upcoming) artist planning to make the big bucks in the music industry in Ghana, or  you are a concerned individual interested in knowing how Ghanaian artists get income from music? If yes, then you are reading the right post. Here are the most promising means from which one can make money out of music production in Ghana. I hope you find a suitable choice from the list.

I. GETTING SIGNED
A great way to get some cash off your music is to sign with a record label, a well recognized music group or promoters. Most artists fancy doing their own thing in terms of production and sales - and it is okay to some extent at least if you have the means. But for anyone starting music especially a talented fellow, the best option is to sign with a record label. Questions may come up like "Are there music labels in Ghana at all?" and the the answer is yes. They mostly do not look the part but some are quiet easy to recognize. In Ghana, one can sign up with BBnZ, Sarkcess Music, Bhimnation, the SM Family, High Grade Family, Lynx just to mention a few. Seriously, all you need to be part of these music groups are TALENT and PASSION. You must be able to walk through the door and wow! everybody out of their brains. Also have as much finished work as possible to push around when you are called. These people cut down your production cost greatly, develop your brand, help you with features and put you on shows either hosted by them or other media houses. On top of that, they get to handle your deals for you perfectly without you having to pick up a phone always to make deals. What can be better than this? Well the downside to signing is that you become limited especially if you do not get a good deal. Management gets a cut from all your earnings and anything you produce is influenced by management's goals. That artistic freedom you might have had to sing a song for your loved one and publish it all over may not be available again. Also, you do not just get up and go perform at any show because you want to. Management takes away all these liberties among several other things. The smart move is to get a good deal with these establishments. Get a lawyer if you are really serious about this and sign a good agreement. With a promising talent, you can sign a very good deal with these labels.

II. ALBUM SIGNING EVENTS
These are events held by artists to publicize an album where fans get to buy the album pre-release or post-release and get it signed by the artist. Not many artists can have a fruitful signing event but it is a sure way to sell music fast and make money. The larger your fan-base the better. And the more passionate they are about your music the best. The location of the signing event is very important. Many artists do not do one signing event but schedule signing events for several dates and locations. This is a good idea as you cannot move your fans all over Ghana (to say the least) to one location for the event. A successful album sale at a signing event will further boost the sales of the work when it is out. A failed signing event however kills the vibe and is avoided by most artists.

III. ONLINE SALES
Yes, Online sales! Several, mostly-popular artists make money off selling music via iTunes and other means online. This is a sure way to make some cash out of your music. One can sell singles or full albums online and make money. In spite of that, this is not a means which an artist can totally depend on to make enough income especially in Ghana. It is common practice in technologically savvy countries worldwide including countries  in Africa where technological advancement is higher than that of Ghana. Before the Apple Music application hit the stores on June 30th 2015 (just 2 years ago), the best way to obtain and manage an iTunes account was through an iPhone or any laptop with the iTunes application installed on it. Aside that, one had to fill in details of their credit card to buy music on iTunes and other sites like Spotify among others. Now Apple Music as well as other streaming applications like Spotify - just to mention a few are accessible on several devices. The problem with Ghana is that majority of the populace do not know about streaming services come to talk of using credit cards to legally buy music online. Free music on Soundcloud and Deezer are streamed by few Ghanaians due to data requirements. Free download and sharing of music is the order of the day. With the discarding of cassette tapes and CD's which could actually be sold on the streets (when demand was high), the new thing is to download freely or copy from friends. I am not even sure if illegal uploading or downloading of albums is a major problem anymore for the Ghanaian music industry as it seems both the artists and the management consider the audience and prefer being heard (in order to make money through other means) over making money directly from online sales. Putting music on iTunes is a matter of class now (at least to some extent), a means to attract outside attention to your music as well as make a little cash here and there. Above that, much cannot be said of online sales of music in Ghana. The major artists may have different opinions on this but this is how things look.
IV. BRAND AMBASSADOR 
A brand ambassador signs a contract with a major brand and is required by the contract to increase publicity of the brand through fans and activities. These brands include those in the telecommunication industry like MTN, Tigo, Airtel, Vodafone, Glo and others; Indomie, Magi, Sprite, Guinness, Woodin and Gidings just to mention a few. An artist most of the time can only sign to a particular brand in a particular field. For instance, in telecommunication, an artist cannot sign to two different brands at the same time. And in the field of fashion, an artist cannot sign to two different clothing brands at the same time. For instance, one cannot be a brand ambassador of both Adidas and Nike at the same time. All you need to become a brand ambassador is hard work coupled with building a large fan base. The brands are interested in the influence of an artist. How important are you? How many people will do what you are doing? How many people will talk about or recommend your lifestyle to others? That is what this is all about. With dedication to self development and a large fan base, the major companies will come running to get your life painted in their colors. This is always the best - when they come to you. Another way to go is to request that you be made a brand ambassador. Mostly, they see this as you needing them in order to gain more popularity. Thus, they may do you in even if they sign contracts with you. As a brand ambassador, you basically just live the brand you are for. You wear their clothing. You perform at shows that they organize, take pictures for their websites and magazines, make references to the brand in your lyrics and show their products in your videos and on your social media platforms. When you are a Glo ambassador for instance, you just have to live Glo, eat Glo and be Glo. In turn you get paid, get shows to perform at and get paid, get free goods among others.

V. FEATURES
 Of course you can make money through features as an upcoming artist and mostly as a prominent one. It is hard as an upcoming artist since nobody will be willing to pay you to be on their song - unless you are real good and not fame hungry enough to be doing everything for free. Chances come in the form of being featured on albums especially by a DJ where you are called upon to perform an already written piece and get paid for it. It all boils down to you being good enough that people actually want you even when you do not advertise yourself hard enough. Talent and Dedication speak for a good artist and opens many doors for them. For prominent artists, this comes as a side something as the better you get, the more people are lined up under you waiting for that big chance to land a feature with you. They even have a choice of declining depending on their preferences. Every Hip Hop artist fancies a feature with Jay-Z or Kanye West because they are the moguls when it comes to the Hip Hop game. You could as well work hard to become one of these people. With time, you may get featured in movies and get paid for it as well. It is all a gradual process which does not happen at once.    

VI. MULTITASKING (PRODUCING)
One quick advice; "Once you decide to be a musician, learn anything and everything about music - the different types, the business, the life, production, distribution as well as promotion if it is feasible". Why? Because limiting yourself to one side of music is a great mistake where you are at the mercy of others totally to the extent that when you lose, you do not even know. To learn about the other aspects of music makes you conversant with the language in all those areas and protects your income - if not increase it. The best thing to do for yourself as a musician is to learn producing at least half of your own music in terms of studio time, beats and all especially if you plan on being independent and not signing with a record label. With that, you get to decide what you want to sound like, prevent the normal rush in crowded studios and record others and make more money. It keeps you experienced as you get to sit in on several recording sessions and also keeps you close to your music life. Studio equipment are expensive though but you can start with the basics in that you will soon get paid enough to get the advanced stuff you need.

VII. ORGANIZING PERSONALLY FUNDED SHOWS
Finally, I would like to talk about something any artist at all can do whether underground, upcoming, incoming or major. Yes! you can organize your own show. If people are not buying tickets to the show where you have made it free, they have to be buying something else - drinks, food, devices or anything else.  It is all about thinking outside the box. It is all about seeing other possibilities above the bouncer at the gate of a show collecting cash. It is about seeing beyond the fantasy of having a billion people at your show. You can organize a show where your friends attend. One can organize a show for his area, his village, his town, city, school and country or the world. It can all happen and real money can be made from this. You might need the help of others to get this running but in the end if played wisely, you get your cut. These shows gain you much popularity as you move on. Major artists go on tour but anyone at all can do something small and keep on doing it till he has enough fans to go on tour. You just have to start from somewhere. 

There you have it. From the seven points well explained above, I hope the write-up has been helpful to you. It is true that I could not have captured everything in this text so please do well to leave me a comment on what you think about the topic.                                             



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