Ghanaian music plays a pivotal role in the making and shaping of our arts/entertainment industry and the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards is etched in the annals of the sector as one, if not the most-anticipated and much-talked-about awards scheme in the country.

A new year obviously heralds new expectations and from now till the main event closes, most of the entertainment-related talk will be hinged on the music awards – like it or not.

Already, there are so much controversies and misunderstandings over the nominations list that was released over the weekend.

Well, allow me from now till a time I tire – to also add my voice to the well-patronized event which enters its 16th year.

Over the period, the zeal, enthusiasm and alacrity musicians attach to nominations and the announcement of the eventual winners tell of the interest given to the awards by these artists. However, the attitude of these artists months and years after winning the awards tell of a group of people who place less or no importance on the awards.

After the one-week-long noise-making that characterizes a VGMA win, the award is tucked in the shelves somewhere in the living room of the artist, he sends his Manager to collect his prize money and that’ s it; the chapter on that award is closed, no mention, no special photo shoot, no celebratory party, no celebratory tour and no celebratory music.

Most importantly, Ghanaian artists do not gloat or boast about their awards and fail to make necessary noise about the Ghana Music Awards they win, both locally and internationally.

Arguably, Ghanaian artists put so much value on the international awards they win than the VGMAs. They will quickly do photo shoots, write their own articles and circulate to media houses on their nominations and awards own in international awards schemes.


Multiple winner Sarkodie
Multiple winner Sarkodie

Winners and multiple winners of the VGMA fail to add the feat to their accolades when they are promoting any of their projects, from albums, concerts to charitable works. Even when they generate their own write-up for media, they fail to mention their annexation of the VGMAs as achievement. Example: 12-time Ghana Music Award winner, Sarkodie, 5-time Ghana Music Award winner, Edem, Multiple Ghana Music Award winner, Becca etc.

So, what really is the worth and value of the Ghana Music Award to the Ghanaian artist? Perhaps, their lack of conviction, trust and confidence in the awards stems from the fact that, there is less or no value in the Ghana Music Awards. Let’s find out why!

The Grammys, obviously, is the most prestigious music awards scheme in the world and it comes with no monetary prize – just the plaque but the value placed on the awards by winning artists is quite inestimable.

An American artist or the publicist of a Grammy-winning artist is likely to bark at writers who blatantly refuse to add the accolade of the Grammy win in describing the artist. The ‘Grammy-winning’ adjective is so dear to any artist – and these are the reasons:

Victorious artists at the Grammys every year – particularly first-time winners, expect a few more zeroes to hatch in their bank accounts. A Grammy victory is a major boost to an artist’s career and branding.

In terms of future earnings, a sampling of performers and producers shows an increase of at least 55% in concert ticket sales, artists and producer fees during the year following a Grammy win.

“It puts another level of mystique on your brand,” explains rapper/producer David Banner, who won in 2009 for his work on Lil Wayne’s ‘Tha Carter III’

Banner says his typical producer fee soared from $50,000 before winning the award to $100,000 or more afterwards; fellow producer Jim Jonsin’s jumped 90% in the wake of his win for producing Lil Wayne’s smash single “Lollipop.”

Music video director David Rousseau has seen this firsthand, and says he knows songwriters and producers who’ve gotten 100-150% earnings boost after a Grammy win.

Rihanna’s fee doubled after she won her first Grammy in 2008. Her fee doubled from $150,000 to $300,000. Bruno Mars saw a 55 percent increase from his 2011 Grammy win from $130,000 to $202,000. Taylor Swift saw an even bigger gain of 380 percent with her 2010 Grammy win, from $125,000 to $600,000.

At least in percentage terms, winning a Grammy matters most to artist in esoteric or obscure genres because a sticker on the CD noting the award can set it apart for casual listeners. Take, for example, the winners for the Best Polka Album and the Best Classical Album. Even though the awards were not televised, the winners of these categories showed substantial gains after winning.

With all these gains that artists attain on winning a Grammy, it is understandable why they will boast about the Grammy’s, put their wins on album covers, put it in their promotional write-ups and speak about it in interviews.

The question is; could it be that, with the nonchalant attitude towards the Ghana Music Awards by winning artists, do they not find value with the awards? Are there not any gains that come with winning the awards? Do their stocks not rise after their nomination and annexation of the VGMAs? Do their brands not become lucrative after the VGMA wins?

Or, it is simply a culture attributable to Ghanaians not to gloat about anything that is homegrown or home-made?

The indifferent attachment to the importance of the VGMA is not just a canker attributable to the artists: Charterhouse and the media are also to blame for this seeming misnomer.

Charterhouse, as organizers of the awards fails to tag or describe the many artists who mount their platforms with VGMA successes when they are running their promotional campaigns for such events. Media practitioners also fail to address Ghanaian artists with their VGMA successes with regards to reports and media presentations.

By: Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

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