The year 2020 was supposed to be the one where Stonebwoy took his craft to the next level – and he had elaborate plans to meet his targets.
“But then, as we all know, this coronavirus thing came up and…”
As one of Ghana’s biggest contemporary musicians, Stonebwoy was in a good place to explore the effects of the pandemic on JoyNews Beyond the Lockdown: Arts Edition.
Sunday night’s program saw the ‘Hero’ singer join colleagues Trigmatic, Manifest, Diana Hamilton, and Nigerian musician Preye.
Contributors also included comedian OB Amponsah, CEO of CharterHouse Theresa Ayoade, and seasoned entertainer David Dontoh.
“Like other artistes, I have been trying to put music out there and be relevant. Coronavirus has had an effect on me. It’s my concern. We have to find a way to come out of this,” Stonebwoy admitted, before going into detail.
The general consensus around the table was that key periods such as the Easter weekend, Mother’s Day and other public holidays saw them unable to honour engagements due to cancelled gigs.
“Ideally, our songs themselves are supposed to make us money because of the huge airplay we get but that’s not the case, especially in Ghana. I can equate it to zero,” he noted.
“Now that our bookings are cut dow, the way we are making money is through the streaming, and the downloading.”
One key way Stonebwoy differs from his peers is that his album release plan did not waver. On April 24, the much-awaited ‘Anloga Junction’ EP arrived.
“That new album has helped in the relevance,” he noted. And it’s true. The buzz created on the 15-tracker from featuring high profile names such as Keri Hilson (USA), Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), and Kojo Antwi ensured a significant amount of audience engagement, which must have made him some revenue.
“The only sad thing from the Ghanaian point of view is the conversation we must have about royalties. Because all these media [stations] play my so-called hits but I get nothing,” he lamented.
The sentiment was echoed by the other musicians, particularly Manifest, who warned that “for any government to leave a lasting legacy in the creative arts, they’ve to fix this royalties problem.”
‘Anloga Junction’, Stonebwoy’s new work, is his first big body of music since ‘Epistles of Mama’ in 2017.