Ghana Association of Phonographic Industries (GAPI), a group of Ghanaian music producers in collaboration with Artpages Creative Community Cooperative BA (APCCC) of Norway, has finalized arrangements for the establishment of a Copyright Investment Bank (CIB) in Ghana to support Ghanaian musicians with micro-credit facilities.

This was contained in a report from a survey conducted by GAPI with some of the 680 million cedis support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) for advocacy initiative intended to promote Ghana’s music industry.

The report titled; “Ghana’s Music Industry – Support for the Extension of Long Term Financing”, said the cardinal objectives of the CIB was to provide long-term financing and to enable artistes to produce music without handing over their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

It said the bank would provide credit directly to the individual copyright owner (musicians and song writer) or his/her appointed producer in the form of soft loans, interest-free loans and counter-funding facilities, using only their music works as collateral.

The report said the focus would initially be on musicians with appreciable level of appeal and marketability on both the local and Diaspora markets through online distribution and mobile phone downloads among others, adding that the package would initially benefit up to 200 selected musicians from Ghana.

It said for each song the artiste would be provided with at least 1,000 euros to cover the full production cost, including hiring of studio, backing musicians, technicians, services for cover arts, license for electronic clearing and web/mobile hosting.

By inference therefore the production and online promotion of a full album of 10 songs would benefit from a 10,000 euros credit from the bank.

Mr Francis Mensah Twum, General Secretary of GAPI, said the bank would also source funds from other local and international investors for onward lending to musicians and artistes.

He confirmed a statement in the report that in order to protect the investments of potential investors artistes benefiting from the bank would be required to sign their copyright to the financiers until the loans were repaid with seven per cent interest.

Mr Twum pointed out that to ensure easy and speedy sale of music works and therefore quick CIB loans repayment, GAPI in collaboration with the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bach Technology AS of Norway for the establishment of an online sales and cyberspace monitoring facility called meta-store to ensure easy distribution of music works through the internet and mobile phone downloads.

He said Bach Technology AS had rights to MPEG7 facility that enabled it to sell music works through the internet in the form of downloads and also to monitor the public use of such works through cyberspace technology.

Mr Francis Twum said Bach Technology AS had already received 600,000 euros from the Norwegian Research Institute specifically to put in place the necessary infrastructure, beginning from January 2008, to enable Ghana and other countries to be hooked to the meta-data-store facility.

“Beyond making and monitoring online sales, the meta-data-store technology will also be used to monitor the radio and TV airplay, and the use of songs in bars, discos, restaurants, hotels and other public places and ensure that money accruing from these places gets to the artiste,” he said.

He said GAPI had also managed to raise an unspecified amount from its membership as its initial contribution to the establishment of the bank.

The report noted that there was need to strengthen laws, regulations and the general administration of the music industry to ensure investor confidence.

In that respect the report noted that the Ghanaian music industry as it was now, was plagued with copyright administration challenges and that of piracy, which needed to be checked to guarantee returns on investments of musicians, producers and financiers.

“It is expected that by using the CIB as a module, GAPI and its allies in the music industry would receive state support for long-term financing of the music industry,” the report said.

Source: GNA


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