GhanaAdventist.org.uk today cooperated with Mark Anim Yirenkyi, resulting in an action that I personally had mixed feelings of happiness and sadness about – and that is I have removed his music videos from the page I set up some years ago to showcase his work.
Like most people, especially visitors to this site, I like Mark’s music so much and play it everywhere I get the chance – at home, on the via my phone, on church sound system on Sabbath afternoons, at parties… Hence it was no wonder that the Mark Anim Yirenkyi’s page was one of the first I create when this site was established years ago.
The page was featuring a playlist of the inspiring music videos by Mark which I have found on Youtube and it has been so popular that it ranks number one on Google non-video results remains one the most visited (1383 visits this year), just behind top items site such as the Adventist Mobile App series, the CB Radio Ghana and Audio library.
The aim of the GhanaAdventist.org.uk website has always been to help in sharing the gospel to all corners of the world, utilising various media including audio, video, graphics and text. Although our visitor comments and back-end statistics hint on the little impact the grace of God is empowering this medium to make, I am the first to admit that it cannot be done with any manner 0f perfection, being a human initiative.
Today, I had a considerably lengthy phone conversation with renowned Ghana SDA music artist, Mark Anim Yirenkyi and his producer. This was made possible by a leader at Amsterdam Ghana SDA Church with whom I am currently working with in the online ministry and a local elder of mine, also formerly based in Amsterdam.
Mark happens to be currently in Amsterdam to launch a new album. Mark’s team initiated the phone conference call with the aim to express the concern about the issue that the music videos by Mark Anim Yirenkyi on Youtube are not only unauthorised but are hurting the sale of his albums and business in general. After a briefing on this issue by Mark’s producer, Mark joined the conversation, beginning with a ‘Yonkodo!’ (love your neighbour) greeting which gladly responded ‘Biakoye!’ (togetherness).
Mark said, ‘Some people are able to download the tracks for free and therefore do not go further to buy the albums in order for us to get enough returns on the money and time invested.’ I unreservedly expressed my sympathy on hearing this plight and promised to help in addressing it according my ability. Hence my immediate removal of the music videos from this site as a first response.
I also made clear the fact that the GhanaAdventist Youtube channel only has our inhouse videos uploaded. We have then favourited other people’s videos like his, in order to share with others since Youtube is among the giant social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, etc via which information is freely shared.
It therefore comes to light that Mark’s ministry has not granted any authorization to their music videos uploaded by some unidentified persons online. This indeed invokes a second thought because the fact of the trend is that we all mostly watch Youtube videos without knowing or wondering about who uploaded them and with what rights they did so.
God has blessed the scanty knowledge and skill I initially had to start this site, propelling me to the currently level of being abreast with some of the current information technology and cutting edge marketing trends used by top businesses and other bodies. Therefore I also used the opportunity to share some relevant information with Mark and which I am glad to share here too, with a bit more elaboration.
Disclaimer: But before I even say any thing further, I must say that Mark is such a fantastic musician that his works sell themselves. ‘Adepa na eton ne ho ampa.’ I am no person to teach such a successful artist. It is just that I know of a few other things which in my humble opinion, can add to what he has achieved and continue to. And that these expressions of my perspective arises after being graced with the surprising opportunity of having a friendly chat with him.
Social media is the new marketing
Most of the social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube… (I cannot exhaust the list here) mostly began with few individuals sharing peer stuff. Today just think of any blue chip business or body and I can bet you will find it on any of the social networks, including Youtube. Marketing is now mostly done through referrals, making social networks and the internet in general more valuable than physical real estates.
Another phenomenon is ‘free’ marketing. Think of modern multi-billion companies like Google, Facebook, O2 and you will discover that their business model is based on offering free services or products whiles they make their money through back end or related products. This is a whole topic of itself.
Based on these, I shared with Mark some few ideas which most marketers, esepecially from our part of the world are yet to embrace. In a classic and relevant case study I have read about, a music band (sorry I can’t recall their name now) were battling falling sale of their albums as few people were just sharing the band’s music on the networks aforementioned. Embrassing a different marketing approach, they got themselves their own Youtube and iTunes channels, released a new album and made it available freely downloadable.
People indeed downloaded the free albums. Yet it also happened sales of their other albums instantly went up sharply. Not only that; their subsequent releases were always climbing up the charts and their concerts were now always outsold. Now most of the world’s top musicians have their own official Youtube channels. They either have their full or teaser videos on there. This boosts their fan base which then increases their sales too.
So back to the conversation, I mentioned that he could follow suit of what most of the popular western musicians do. That is get international copyrights to their music or at least Youtube have a system whereby music and video copyrighted in their database cannot be uploaded at all on there. An alternative is to allow those uploads but get Youtube to insert a link below the video telling viewers to click and buy from an official source.
Second, people like his music and the market is huge but unfulfilled. I mentioned the fact I have personally been to popular Ghana music outlets in London here like Kumasi market on several ocassions and unable to get CDs of his, Osei Boateng, Kyei Baffour and their likes. I know most loyal fans are only able to get some by getting friends and relatives back home to buy in Ghana and find means of receiving them.
I also chipped in the use of digital platforms like iTunes for promotion and distribution because downloadable music sales have surpassed that of physical CDs in the top end of the music industry.Mark was in full agreement with this and hinted me of their ongoing negotiations with a firm in that direction. That is good music to our ears too in that most of his fans in the diaspora may already be in the digital music market already into our iTunes, computer and mobile devices. So it can only be a win-win situation for him and us all.
In all, it was an inspiring conversation. We even touched on some common linkage we share in Ghana and outlined some possible future cooperation if God permits. And at least it has awaken me to write yet another post here on GhanaAdventist.org.uk after several months now. Yet I do the admin stuff regularly including updating the Sabbath School lessons hub, answering messages and posting Pastor Ewoo’s articles. On mentioning Pastor Ewoo, I must add that we have recently redeveloped the website of Amsterdam Ghana SDA Church which he pastored for many years until returning to Ghana quite recently. The new Amsterdam Ghana SDA website, also developed via my EMediaWebdesign service is set to include most of the features seen on this site too. As such, most of his new writings are being posted there.
I am keen on search engine optimization so will not repeat the same posts on both sites. What may be done is to post some here too occasionally.
I will end by saying once again, ‘Ayekoo, Mark Anim Yirenkyi.’ And ‘Nyame nhyira wo!’ to him, all his fans and readers. God bless