Streaming Benefits Only Secular Artistes – Ernest Opoku

Digitization hit many in the music industry quite hard as their revenues from traditional sources dropped considerably. Thankfully, music streaming came to their rescue and they are reaping the rewards.

In Ghana, musicians may have come to the streaming party a bit late but they are raking in the money now. However, in Gospel artiste Ernest Opoku’s view, streaming has only benefited secular acts.

“The secular artistes benefit a lot from YouTube and other streaming platforms but not Gospel musicians. The secular acts get huge monies from there when they upload their songs but the Gospel artistes hardly benefit and I am just being real.

“Some of the Gospel musicians will say they make money from streaming but trust me it is a lie because I talk to a lot of them. They probably have sponsors who support them,” he told Graphic Showbiz in an interview.

According to Ernest Opoku, when a secular musician releases a new song and puts it on any of the streaming sites, presenters and his/her fans will easily download it, but the same cannot be said of Gospel musicians.

“Let Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale release a new song right now, you will see how the DJs and the fans will rush for it and download so they can make money, but we Gospel musicians rather have to pay for our songs to be played.

“AY Poyoo just got one million views on YouTube for his Goat song, and I don’t think any Gospel musician would have gotten those views despite their talent,” he said.

Using himself as an example, Ernest Opoku said streaming had not helped him in any way. “Back in the days when we had producers behind us, we could sell CDs and make a lot of money for our next projects.

“Imagine about 800 people buying my CDs at GH¢5 in churches, not to talk about my fans, and I was good to go. If I release a song and spend money to shoot a video, pay a sound engineer, and not get close to half of what I put in, then what’s the point?” he asked.

Ernest Opoku said he uploaded a video of his song W'aye Afere, featuring Hiplife group Keche on YouTube and after a year he got only $300 for the views.

“What am I doing with $300 when I spent over $1,000 on that particular song? After uploading on YouTube, I now have to pay DJs and television stations to get the song played. We are not doing well and any Gospel musician who will disagree with me probably has a sponsor pushing his or her works,” he said.

Explaining why Ghanaians had not heard from him in a while, he said it was not his fault. “I wish I was giving Ghanaians good music all the time, but where is the money to push it? Nothing is coming in and we rather have to spend the little we have to promote what we release,” he said.

He said only a few Gospel musicians were releasing songs these days and called on the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) to come to their aid.

Another Gospel musician, Joyce Blessing, also agreed with Ernest Opoku’s claims. According to her, if Sarkodie or Stonebwoy released a song, the revenue from streaming was enough to cover their projects, but that was not the same for Gospel musicians.

“This streaming thing is new to us Gospel musicians. Ours is the selling of CDs and not really the streaming. I think the secular musicians saw this streaming coming and acted fast.

“Selling CDs in the churches alone was enough to pay for one’s next album, but nowadays every artiste is selling their music online and the secular musicians benefit more, but gradually we Gospel artistes are getting there,” she said.