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Over the years, the Ghanaian music industry has seen a plethora of Artist come and go. Right now I will try to breakdown the challenges most underground artist face to break into the mainstream and stay relevant. Because trust me, there are some very greatly talented Artists still stuck in the underground scene, some due to their own doings and others simply because they can’t just catch a break.
Its safe to say that some people just get lucky right from the unset and some go through the very hard road to finally make it. From having to go on a hiatus and comeback rebranded, to changing management right to changing genres. Various artists have either broken through or remained in obscurity or faded into it. Although some did make it and just decided to leave the scene for other callings, like Lord Kenya living the hiplife scene, to follow Christs calling into the Pastoral ministry. Screwface living the scene to go focus on fatherhood. Some went into obscurity by choice.
The Ghanaian music industry has been said to be rife with a lot of selfishness and pride, and a lack of brotherly (sisterly love in regards to the females) love from fellow artists towards each other. In all honesty here are some of the challenges, faced by underground artists in Ghana and generally across the world;
Limited Exposure: New artists often struggle with gaining exposure. The music industry is vast, and it can be challenging to get noticed amid the sheer volume of content. Limited exposure can hinder an artist’s ability to build a fan base and attract industry attention.
Financial Constraints: Creating and promoting music requires financial resources. Many emerging artists may face challenges due to limited budgets for recording, production, marketing, and promotion. Lack of funding can restrict their ability to create high-quality content and reach a broader audience.
Navigating Industry Relationships: Building relationships within the music industry is crucial for success. However, emerging artists may find it challenging to navigate these relationships, whether it’s with record labels, managers, or other industry professionals. Lack of experience can lead to unfavorable deals or missed opportunities.
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Overcoming Competition: The music industry is highly competitive, with numerous talented artists vying for attention. Breaking through the noise and distinguishing oneself from the competition can be difficult. Unique talent, branding, and effective promotion are essential for standing out.
Building a Fan Base: Establishing a dedicated fan base is crucial for an artist’s long-term success. However, gaining and retaining fans requires consistent effort, engaging content, and effective communication. Building a supportive community around an artist takes time and strategic planning.
Digital Noise and Streaming Challenges: While digital platforms offer opportunities for exposure, they also contribute to digital noise. Standing out on streaming services and social media platforms can be tough. Additionally, the financial dynamics of streaming may not always favor emerging artists, making it difficult to generate significant revenue.
Balancing Artistic Integrity and Commercial Appeal: Striking a balance between artistic authenticity and commercial viability is a common struggle. Some artists may face pressure to conform to mainstream trends, potentially compromising their unique style and artistic vision.
Lack of Industry Knowledge: Understanding the complexities of the music industry, including contracts, copyright issues, and marketing strategies, is essential. Many emerging artists lack sufficient knowledge about these aspects, which can lead to unfavorable deals or missed opportunities.
Mental Health Challenges: The pressure to succeed, financial strain, and the uncertainty of the industry can contribute to mental health challenges for emerging artists. Coping with rejection, criticism, and the unpredictable nature of the business can take a toll on an artist’s well-being.
Generally upcoming face a lot of stress making it to the mainstream of the music scene. When some do make it, they really make the most of all that or succumb to the the hype and mess up. But in all this i believe some get really good after all the work is put in to breakthrough. Stakeholders could make avenues possible for more talented underground artist to get the much needed assist. In our era at least a host of these underground artist have also earned their fame by grabbing the opportunity presented by the talent hunt competition rife in the country. To those who made it through, we say big ups, to those still hustling, the right will come soon.
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